After nearly four years without a new Rihanna album, ‘ANTI’ has finally arrived. On her eighth full-length record, Rihanna declares that she is certainly back, but her main focus is the artistry instead of airplay.
In this day and age, waiting almost four years to release a new album could easily be considered a death wish for an artist. But for artists like Rihanna, time doesn’t matter, as fans have patiently waited to hear the 27-year-old singer’s next record, Anti, with the same excitement since her release of Unapologetic in 2012. Once Anti became available on Jan. 27, it was immediately apparent that the delay didn’t matter — because Rihanna put together an album that was well worth the wait.
None of the album’s 13 songs exude the poppy vibe that most of Rihanna’s hits have in the past, which may make it difficult for Rihanna to find herself on the radio with her latest tunes. After listening to the album in full, though, it’s easy to see that airplay isn’t what Rihanna is going for with Anti. Rather, the album shows that Rihanna has found a new direction with her music, one that proves that she’s not afraid to take risks to achieve a style she hasn’t tried.
In fact, if there’s one word to sum up the collection of songs on Anti, it’s diversity. Every track on Anti shows off Rihanna’s vocal abilities in different ways, with the musical stylings varying as well. The album starts off with a triumphant, base-bumping “I’m back”-type track, “Consideration,” but then quickly transitions to two slow jams, “James Joint” and “Kiss It Better,” the song which producer Glass John angrily blamed Travis Scott for delaying. These three openers set the scene for what’s to come, but Rihanna still offers some pleasant surprises along the way.
For example, the fourth track on Anti is the Drake-assisted “Work” — perhaps the most radio-friendly song on the album — which offers a catchy beat and fun vibe that channels Rihanna’s club anthems. She then goes into a series of R&B-laced gems including “Same Ol’ Mistakes,” a cover of Tame Impala‘s “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” that shows just how talented RiRI is at crafting tracks no matter the tempo.
While the final four songs on Anti don’t pick up the pace, Rihanna provides an impressive closing with a reminder that she has one incredible voice. The doo-woppy “Love On The Brain” allows RiRi to use falsetto but also sneaks in some major belt-out moments. That goes straight into the short, yet sweet “Higher” that continues the spectacular showing of Rihanna’s powerhouse vocals, then finishing with the beautiful “Close To You” that’s reminiscent of her 2012 ballad, “Stay.”
Considering the more stripped-down side of Rihanna that Anti displays, fans who have been in Rihanna’s navy from the beginning may not know exactly how to feel about her newest collection. But a few listens Anti is all it takes to realize that Rihanna’s new style is perfectly fitting to the woman she has become since her breakout, and that her future releases will be music to your ears — even if it’s not quite what you expect from RiRi.
What do you think of Rihanna’s new album, HollywoodLifers? Was it worth the wait? Tell us below!