Monday, June 04, 2007

Rihanna Review

Good Girl Gone Bad
Def Jam
6.0 out of 10
By Norman Mayers

Barbadian singer Rihanna blew up out of nowhere in 2005 with her dancehall-lite hit "Pon De Replay", then managed to secure another massive hit in 2006 with the 80s electro of "SOS". In an effort to maintain her hold on the popular consciousness, Def Jam is releasing a third Rihanna album in as many years. Whereas her two previous albums were very heavy on the syrupy ballads and Caribbean references, Good Girl Gone Bad takes its cues from "SOS" playing with uptempo 80s flavors. Although the album is far from consistent, often venturing into the cheesiest territories of pop music, this is Rihanna's strongest effort to date.

With artists like Beyonce and Ciara dominating the charts, it was only a matter time before Rihanna sexed up her image and took it to the dancefloor. The change definitely works for her as Good Girl Gone Bad is full of several dance-oriented tracks that, while not as sharp as those of her competition, are unique in their sound and style. The first single "Umbrella" featuring Jay-Z is just one example of the new adventurousness in Rihanna's sound. An urban track that soars during its chorus into wild synthetic layers "Umbrella" is sure to stand out among the year's best singles. The dance flavor is continued into the electro bass of "Push Up On Me" and the potential gay club anthem "Don't Stop The Music". Timbaland adds his skills to three standouts: the midtempo "Sell Me Candy", the marching band funk of "Lemme Get That", and the Justin Timberlake-penned "Rehab" (and no it's not as good as Amy Winehouse). The album veers into more mainstream territory with two tracks penned by Ne-Yo and the Kelly Clarkson-esque "Shut Up and Drive". The Ne-Yo tracks, while sure to be hits, are a bit cheesy and don't necessarily gel with the more club oriented material found throughout the album.

In just a short amount of time Rihanna has produced three albums of varying quality, but she is also streamlining her style to find what works and what doesn't. Though far from perfect, with Good Girl Gone Bad Rihanna seems to be finding her way.

Rihanna's myspace page

Purchase Rihanna Good Girl Gone Bad

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