Label: Def Jam
You know what the music world desperately needs right now? A new Rihanna album. They’re so rare. They’re even rarer than Beyonce videos. After all, RiRi has only released like, what, seventy-nine singles in the past year? And collaborated on ninety-four others? Talk about lazy!
Yep, it’s the sixth LP in as many years from the global superstar, who is now the grand, wise old age of 23. It’s all well and good riding the wave of your popularity, but given that Loud was so great and it’s becoming harder and harder to remember a month when there wasn’t a new Rihanna song doing the rounds, is Talk That Talk a bit surplus to requirement?
It hits and it misses. It’s a set designed to maintain the star’s position at the top of her subgenre more than anything. It’s not particularly interested in treading new ground and it’s not too bothered about breaking boundaries either. That said, tracks like Calvin Harris’ chart-pestering single ‘We Found Love’ show us a slightly more euphoric Rihanna than the ‘S&M’/'Rude Boy’ moments we’ve been subjected to over the past couple of years, and ‘Drunk On Love’, which samples The xx’s ‘Intro’, is her darkest midtempo offering since ‘Russian Roulette’.
But for the most part it’s business as usual. Songs like ‘Roc Me Out’ and ‘Watch’n'Learn’ don’t offer anything we haven’t already heard a thousand times before, but the Britney Blackout-style ‘Cockiness (Love It)’ will satisfy those who like Ms Fenty at her filthiest (“Suck my cockiness”) and next single ‘You Da One’ has enough playground-style swagger to make Cher Lloyd feel like a credible influence.
The standout is ‘Where Have You Been’, a dancefloor anthem that begins like a Euro-friendly club banger before kicking off post-chorus and somehow sounding like a remix of itself. Even though the Jay-Z duet will probably serve as the third single, it’d be a crime not to have it splashed all over the radio at some point or other.
In fact, it’s the singles that have probably been occupying the producer’s minds throughout the TTT recording process. You can easily spot the handful of world-class radio hoggers that will be storming the iTunes charts in no time, and whilst the rest all ranges from ‘good’ to ‘very good’, you can’t help but feel the time may be fast approaching when us and Rihanna will need a little space.