Rihanna - Talk That Talk

4Music was treated to an advance listen of RiRi's new album

Thu 10 Nov 2011

4Music was treated to an advance listen of RiRi's new album

Just twelve months after unleashing her chart-topping album Loud, Rihanna is already preparing to release the follow-up.

Incredibly, this is the 23-year-old's sixth studio album and, according to her manager, her desire to keep recording is driven by her love of music and her wish to satisfy demand from her fans.

Introducing the album at SARM Studios in London's Notting Hill, Jay Brown said she was right to keep on releasing albums as "kids are always looking for new music."

He also revealed plans for her to shoot the video for her next single You Da One in London and confirmed that they're talking to Melina Matsoukas, who was at the helm on the We Found Love shoot, about possible concepts.

When asked about her plans for 2012, Brown said Rihanna would be promoting her movie debut Battleship, which is due for release in the UK on 18 April, and would begin work on a second big screen project towards the end of the year.

Here's our track-by-track rundown of the album:

1. You Da One (3:20) - Produced by Dr Luke + Ester Dean

Already confirmed as the second single, this mid-tempo track sounds like a grower. "Yes I'm kinda crazy, that's what happens baby," sings RiRi over a plodding beat which, at one point, threatens to go a bit dubstep. It ends very suddenly.

2. Where Have You Been (4:02) - Produced by Dr Luke + Ester Dean

Massive club record alert! RiRi belts out: "Where have you been 'cos I never see you out / Are you hiding from me somewhere in the crowd?" over a relentless beat that just gets bigger and bigger, until it explodes into an unexpected, trancey instrumental that makes We Found Love sound like a lullaby. Immense!


3. We Found Love feat. Calvin Harris (3:35) Produced by Calvin Harris

This presented an opportunity for me to have a sip of Diet Coke and rest my poor scribbling hands. It still sounds amazing, by the way.

4. Talk That Talk feat. JAY Z (3:29) Produced by Stargate + Ester Dean

Previous RiRi and Jay-Z hook-ups Run This Time and Umbrella both shot to the top of the charts, so to say that this track is anticipated is a bit of an understatement. Luckily it doesn't disappoint. From its dramatic opening and Rude Boy-esque production to Jay-Z's expletive-ridden boasts of "selling out arenas" and "flying to Jamaica", Talk That Talk is a truly irresistible track that you won't be able to avoid bopping your head along to. "You ain't never had a woman like me" - you're right there, RiRi!

5. Cockiness (Love It) (2:58) - Produced by Bangladesh

Easily the least conventional track on the album, Cockiness features erratic percussion, fairly nonsensical lyrics (I think she was singing "love it when you eat it") and a really strange noise at the beginning. I wasn't quite sure what to make of this one.


6. Birthday Cake (1:18) - Produced by Da Internz + Dream

Described by Jay Brown as an "interlude", Birthday Cake feels more like a song that they couldn't be bothered to finish. This Kelis-esque, urban-flavoured track is literally packed full of double entendre. What a minx she is!

7. We All Want Love (3:57) - Produced by NO I D +  Ester Dean

We All Want Love reminded me of Chris Brown and Justin Bieber's Next 2 You. Rihanna's voice is given the opportunity to truly shine here, while the combination of layered vocals and guitar riffs are pretty epic-sounding. Definitely a highlight.

8. Drunk On Love (3:32) - Produced by Stargate + Ester Dean

This is another track which sees Rihanna's vocals truly soar. Her dream team of Stargate and Ester Dean have truly exceeded themselves on this tale of being a hopeless romantic. With its dramatic percussion and synths, sonically it's not a million miles away from What's My Name, while the honest lyrics ("I've been let down but never tainted") definitely strike a chord.


9. Roc Me Out (3:29) - Produced by Stargate + Rob Swire

Rihanna's naughty side comes out to play yet again on Roc Me Out, which has a similar tempo to Rude Boy, but with darker, heavier beats. "This is for your eyes only / Roc me out back and forth", she sings seductively. Tsk tsk, young lady!

10.  Watch n’ Learn (3:31) - Produced by Hip Boy + Priscilla Renee

Fans of RiRi's fast-singing style will love this one. While Watch n' Learn is another song about, ahem, 'getting it on', this track has a less aggressive, more sensual feel to it. 


11.  Farewell (4:16) - Produced by Alex Da Kid + Ester Dean


This is the album's 'lighters in the air' moment. Produced by Alex Da Kid, the guy responsible for Love the Way You Lie, Farewell is a big old ballad about saying goodbye to the one you love: "Somebody's gonna miss you / somebody's gonna wish that you were here". The middle 8 is my favourite bit, as it strips the song back to just her vocal and a piano, before the final huge chorus kicks in.


Bonus Tracks:

Jay Brown also gave the assembled media the opportunity to hear three bonus tracks from the deluxe album.

Red Lipstick, which was written by Rihanna herself with The-Dream, is full of attitude and has the stamp of dubstep duo Chase & Status all over it.

Do Your Thing, produced by The-Dream, is one of the poppiest tracks on the album and, as listenable as it is, it's not hard to see why it was relegated to a bonus track.

Much better was Fools in Love, which was written by Ester Dean and produced by Dr. Luke. With its haunting vocals and honest lyrics, it's definitely one of Talk That Talk's stand-out tracks. 


Overall:


Having released three albums in three years, I was concerned that Rihanna might end up sacrificing quality for quantity. However, my worries turned out to be unfounded, as Talk That Talk is another worthy addition to her catalogue. How does she do it? 


Rating: 4 out of 5

Best track: Where Have You Been?

Best lyric: "I know you wanna bite this" (Birthday Cake)




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