Rihanna - Loud Review

We give Rihanna's latest album a spin.

Fri 12 Nov 2010

Scoring a No.1 with the lead single Only Girl (In The World) suggests Rihanna's return to the dance floor after Rated R's foray into the mosh pit is music to our ears. The singer's fifth album Loud thankfully continues the party.

From Rude Boy, SOS and Take A Bow to the smash hit Umbrella under her belt, its hard to believe it's been five years since Rihanna made her Pom De Replay debut. Surrounded by a media storm, it's even harder to believe she's still only 22 years old. Loud, however, is a reminder that Rihanna is a single girl after a good time and rarely lets us forget it.

The Avril Lavigne-sampling Cheers (Drink To That) raises a glass to a drunken weekend before Only Girl (In the World) takes the singer from her island-pop roots to the European dance floors and back again for follow-up single What's My Name? Loud is as much an instruction as an album title, with album opener S&M demanding to be played at full volume, the bass line refusing to let anyone stand still.

Rihanna swaggers through the album as a woman on the prowl, taking her conquests from the clubs to the bedroom. Demanding to know 'why are you standing over there with your clothes on?' on sultry track Skin, the Barbadian clearly means business. Rising star Nicki Minaj also joins her for feisty collaboration Raining Men, the two divas reveling in men aplenty in their nod to the Weather Girls.

It seems, however, Rihanna still has yet to find true love and beneath the bravado and beats still lies a sadness that suggests the singer has yet to fully recover from her ordeal with Chris Brown. Songs like Fading and California King Bed lament emotional distance, while album highlight Complicated sees Rihanna belt out her heartache, the trance number growing in both electronic intensity and despair.

It does appear though that Rihanna no longer suffers fools gladly, darkly singing of murder on urban reggae track Man Down to the approaching sound of police sirens. Asking herself if she is a masochist after Eminem's bitter tirade on the rocked-up closer Love You When You Lie (Part II), Rihanna may doubt her choice in men but Loud suggests she's not done having fun with them quite yet.

Best track: Complicated

Best lyric: 'Drinks on my mind and my mind on my money' - Cheers (Drink to That)

Rating: 4 out of 5