“Anti” is the eighth studio album released by the Barbasian Singer and Songwriter Robyn Fenty who is known by her stage name of Rihanna.
This album is Rihanna’s first since the 2012 release of “Unapologetic” and has been promoted with the single “Work”.
With the anticipation leading up to this release I found the entire album to be a little bizarre in the fact that it is so underwhelming. Whether you like Rihanna’s past work or not it is difficult to deny that she is a hit making machine who has taken the Pop/R&B genre by storm since her debut in 2005 and made it her own.
There is absolutely nothing on “Anti” that screams at ‘hit single’. There are no anthems or clever ballads and it is one of the most unimaginative and least creative albums she could have possibly released.
There are some redeeming moments on the album and vocally I believe Rihanna does a solid job throughout and the final four songs on the album show a different side to her style of music but even those tracks are pretty standard Soul/R&B numbers.
The album kicks off with “Consideration” which if it was to set the tone for the rest of the album it would have been a positive thing. This big bassy hip hop beat with a nice little baseline playing in the background and Rihanna putting in a really interesting vocal performance using her range. The song sadly doesn’t really go anywhere and there is no chorus which feels as if Rihanna is simply just singing any thought that is coming into her mind.
“James Joint” is just a 1:12 interlude about absolutely nothing. It’s like an unfinished demo track that has accidentally made it onto the album.
“Never Ending” is a forgettable ballad with an repetitive acoustic guitar driving the song. This track doesn’t go anywhere at all and continues to just plug the guitar and some confusing and ultimately redundant lyrics.
“Kiss It Better” is a middle of the road 80’s influenced ballad which starts off with a big guitar and Rihanna singing the title of the track. It’s one of the few songs off the project that you could see as a single but this isn’t to say that it’s a good song but certainly one of the more accessible on “Anti”.
“Work” is the lead single off the album. It features rapper Drake but even he cannot save this travesty of a song. The song had barely any verse structure and actually has no chorus with Rihanna just replacing a need for a chorus with the repetitive wining of “Work work work work work”. This song could easily drive me over the edge.
If I was having a bad day and put this song on I believe I could end up committing a murderous crime. If there is a worse song released in 2016 I will be shocked. A shambles.
“Desperado” is a better. I like the moody and dark instrumentation. Like many of the tracks off the album there are parts of the production that sound decent but sadly they play it safe and do not develop the track as it continues which just leads to interest disappearing.
If “Work” was a bad track it is rivaled by “Woo” which is such a terribly shit song I believe it should be used as a torture tactic going forward. The use of this autotune “Woooo” in place of a chorus is frankly fucking appalling. There is little verse structure, ear bleeding production which is so messy that it is actually difficult to get through the entire and the lack of a chorus or bridge just make the song so very difficult to listen to.
“Needed Me” is more of what I expected on this album. It isn’t a great track or anything but Rihanna sounds very good on this song but again it’s another one with no real hook which is shocking to me given that Rihanna has always been about hooks that would have everyone singing.
“Yeah, I Said It” sees the beginning of the change in musically style on the album. This is a laid back Neo Soul track which sees Rihanna sound very sultry and sexy. I like this song and certainly fits in with a lot of the 90’s / early 2000’s sexually charged R&B.
Boy I always like to show
Get a little bit, come a little close, no
Take it home on your camera phone
Get a little bad, nigga, watch me blow it down
“Same Ol’ Mistakes” is a one of the oddest tracks on the album but fits in with the theme of songs going nowhere. This song goes on for 6:37 which after 2 minutes you have probably go anything you needed to get out of the song. Rihanna’s vocal is used in this filtered whispery tone. It isn’t so much singing but whispering with a bit of style. Boring.
“Never Ending” is an acoustic pop ballad. It’s petty and light which is more akin to a previous track from the singer “Unfaithful”. It’s placing on the album seems odd and sounds to me as if there were a bunch of songs recorded over the last four years and the different sounds were just put on the album as if it was a compilation. This song isn’t bad and Rihanna uses her vocal very well but it shows the album to be incohreant and messy.
“Love On The Brain” is a Motown influenced song which really caught my attention. The structure of the song is tried and tested and there is nothing really creative about the song but the fact is that Motown Soul music formula works and Rihanna delivers a superb vocal performances where she uses her upper range and sounds as soulful as she as ever done.
“Higher” uses that same formula and it really works. This tracks makes no sense in being on this album but regardless a good song is a good song and this is a really strong tracks.
I wouldn’t say I would want Rihanna to do an entire album of Motown influenced songs but it is interesting that she would add tracks to this album of that ilk. I would delve into cynicism and just think that she did not have anything else to offer and the fact this track is just 2 minutes long feels criminal.
“Close To You” finishes the album. It’s a very sombre and dreary ballad filled with sadness which is the way the album closes itself out. I actually kinda like this song and feel Rihanna delivers a really personal and real performances.
“Anti” is one of the strangest albums I have listened to in recent times as it so messy. It goes from one extreme to the other and I really do mean that. “Work” and “Woo” are appalling songs and someone should be punished for such horrible tracks.
But there are some decent moments where Rihanna does shine and her singing is the best it has ever been.
The four year wait for a new album from Rihanna has not been met with anything creative, interesting nor forward thinking.