Rihanna shows originality with new album “Anti”

Rihanna reveals her true emotions through her new songs.


Rihanna holds up a red balloon, and poses in front of the album’s artwork, at the cover art reveal.

Jasper Green, Staff Writer

After accidentally being leaked on Jay Z’s new streaming service, Tidal, Rihanna’s eighth studio album Anti has officially dropped. Rihanna’s last studio album, Unapologetic, dropped three years ago in 2012, which has given her time to make Anti uncharacteristically thoughtful. Rihanna has always found strength in her singles, yet Anti lacks any clear hits, opting instead to feature slow jams, making Anti a great album for relaxation, which is perhaps the reason for its name.

Anti feels carefully constructed, and when listened to, it offers much more of an emotional experience than her other albums have, which were more just collections of potential hits. Anti also shows more originality than her past albums, by letting Rihanna be herself, giving us a glimpse at her true emotions. Like Unapologetic (2012), it contains more explicit songs than non-explicit ones.

A huge part of the album is the atmosphere of each song. On songs like the R&B power ballad, “Kiss it Better,” and the mid-tempo groove, “Desperado,” Rihanna’s vocals radiate a lustful desperation, while one receives a rush of deep emotion. These emotions are consistent throughout the whole album, and they show up in most of the songs. For example, Rihanna feels the full on effects of her desperation in the heart wrenching ballad, “Close to You,” which is similar to 2012’s “Stay.”

Two standouts of the album are “Love on the Brain” and “Higher.” Rihanna sings them both with a raspy, old fashioned 1950s, doo-wop, and shows a whole new side to her voice. “Love on the Brain” is well named, as it shows her unstoppable attraction toward a special someone. “Higher” on the other hand, shows Rihanna call up a lover, pleading for affection, and shout singing her raw feelings.

The album contains songs that show how Rihanna deals badly with her emotions as well, including, “James Joint,” and “Higher,” where she turns to substances. In others, “Work,” and “Woo,” Rihanna turns to partying, and in the slow paced, “Yeah I Said It,” she turns to sexual relations. In a particularly interesting track, “Consideration,” Rihanna deals with her emotions by blaming them on others, and another R&B track, “Needed Me,” she rudely takes her emotions out on her lover.

Rihanna covers the Australian group Tame Impala on the psychedelic rock song “Same Ol’ Mistakes.” In both “Same Ol’ Mistakes” and the tear jerking, “Never Ending,” Rihanna reveals how overwhelmed, and lost she feels in her life.

It is enjoyable how Rihanna has turned her albums from just being collections of hits, into having an emotional theme throughout the album. Her vocals are excellent, and the experimental backgrounds help each song to shine. With repeated listening, the songs get better, and satisfying hooks get discovered amongst all of the emotions. Overall, the album’s commercial success has yet to be determined, but Rihanna has made great strides with Anti.

4.5/5 stars