We all know it. Rihanna is a world-wide pop superstar that seems to spend too much of her time flashing her boobs and smoking joints on expensive yachts with her female crew. But she’s also one of the best singers of her generation. Her voice is unequaled in the pop stratosphere, way better than the thin organs Madonna, Selena Gomez or Miley Cyrus are stuck to work with. She’s on Adele’s and Kelis‘ level when it comes to singing soul.

On “Anti”, the green-eyed black beauty nails another quality collection of strong songs. Her range goes from hip-hop to ballads (Yeah, I Say It, with Portishead-like arrangements) with songs that have major hit potential, without ever compromising on the soul quality. Long-time collaborator (and A1 pop star himself) Drake is again present, on Work. The song has a Caribbean feel to it, mixed with modern R’n’B and soulful vocal work. Not my favorite, though. Kind of gets on my nerves more than anything.

 

On every track, Rihanna’s voice is strong, but always sensible. On Needed Me, she’s full of soul, never over powering her music, like so many pop stars do. She’s riding the wave, or creating the wave should I say.

Big beat pop songs like Same Ol’ Mistakes show Rihanna’s pop sensibility with a smooth-going melody that elevates the spirit, as she’s once again putting her own vulnerability on the line. In this style, Rihanna shows her versatility, proving again her musical skills, and her strong partners and producers. Her high-pitched voice on this track lets all smoothness go out. Surprisingly, the songs is a cover version of New Person, Same Old Mistakes performed by Tame Impala last year!

rihanna anti with singer

On the next song, Never Ending, Rihanna is even softer, singing with classical guitars in a style that you’d expect more from Shakira. Then on the beautiful soul song Love On The Brain, she turns into a true R’n’B singer, in the true Motown fashion. Maybe she’s a bit less unique when she does such things. She’s definitively less badass. But she display such skills and voice control like you could hear only with Adele, Amy Winehouse and legendary names like Aretha Franklin that the Barbadian beauty gets unchallenged respect.

Some songs show a bit more musical exploration, like Woo, which goes a bit deeper in the electronic treatments, using an repetitive industrial beat to hypnotize the listener, but the last half of “Anti” is softer, exposing her immense vocal talent (Higher). The album closes on a sad song, Close To Me, that wouldn’t be remarkable if it wasn’t for Rihanna’s voice. Otherwise, it’s a bit cheezy.

rihanna festival

“Anti” is her 8th album in 11 years. It was launched exclusively on Tidal on January 28 and is expected to hit record stores on February 5, 2016. Are included as producers: Jeff Bhasker, Boi-1da, DJ Mustard, Hit-Boy, Brian Kennedy, Timbaland and No I.D.

She had released one album every year from 2005 to 2012 before taking a 4 year recording break. The number of international hits she had is impressive. She’s reportedly worth $120 million dollars (est. 2015). And she’s only 27. Songs like Umbrella, Diamonds, Stay, Rude Boy, Love the Way You Lie (with Eminem), We Found Love… are among the most popular of the pop scene of the early millennial years. Here are a few of her previous hits and high-budget video clips.

We’ll update this article with new videos as they are released.

Rihanna will play the Bell Center in Montreal on April 6 and 7! Get your tickets here.

RIHANNA
Anti
(Westbury Road / Roc Nation, 2016)

-Genre: soul pop
-In the same spirit as Kelis, Adele, Amy Winehouse

Follow the artist via her Facebook page
Listen to videos on the artist’s YouTube channel

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier
Fondateur et rédacteur en chef
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Mélomane invétéré et rédacteur agréé, Nicolas pratique la critique en mode olympique: il parle de tout, tout le temps, depuis 1991. Il a publié 4 500 critiques de disques et concerts dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur en chef de 2009 à 2014. Nicolas a publié "Les perles rares et les grands crus de la musique" en janvier 2013, un ouvrage de 1250 pages en deux tomes.