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Rihanna's New Album Is Ballsy, Bold, And Thoroughly "Unapologetic"

Courtney M. Fowler |
November 20, 2012 | 6:48 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Rihanna strips down for the cover of "Apologetic." (via Wikimedia)
Rihanna strips down for the cover of "Apologetic." (via Wikimedia)
A lot can be said about Rihanna: Beautiful, cocky, uncensored, sexy, impulsive; but most importantly, not sorry about it. The pop princess has flooded our radio waves for the past few years and she is showing no signs of stopping.

Yesterday, she released her new album, “Unapologetic”, exactly a year and a day after her last, “Talk That Talk,” making it her seventh album in 7 years.

The album also comes  on the heels of rumors buzzing about her reunion with ex Chris Brown  and in the midst of her turbulent “777” promo tour in which she performs in seven countries in seven days.  

 At first listen, “Unapologetic” reveals Rihanna going back to her R&B roots and mimicking the sound of her second LP “Music of the Sun.”  

However, once it delves deeper, you get a glimpse into the girl behind the, “Red Lipstick” and fierce style. The 24-year-old, record-breaking pop star has evolved drastically from her earlier albums, and she wants everyone to know it, through each track on the album. 

On the first song “Phresh Off the Runway,” produced by The Dream and David Guetta, she proclaims, “How could you be so hood, but you  so fucking pop? / How could you be so fun, and sound like you selling rocks?”, a direct comeback to naysayers trying to box her into one genre. “Phresh” plays like a hip-hop song, while capturing the classic “Rih-Rih sassiness” that we love her for. 

During the album’s 15 song span, Rihanna proves to be every bit of the bitchy, outspoken, glorious rebel that we’ve come to expect;  literally screaming, “What Now” and reminding the world through the voices of her own and Chris Brown’s, that her life is, “Nobody’s Business.” 

Interestingly enough, the upbeat collaboration comes just weeks after her revealing interview with Oprah Winfrey, allowing the demons of their tumultuous romantic past to come to light. And Rihanna simply has no problem exposing it.

Following the widely publicized 2009 domestic abuse case between Brown and herself, critics have been attempting to understand the complicated and sometimes-unfathomable decision-making process that she’s adopted. However, for the first time, she’s used her music to directly respond, and the album quickly becomes an open diary of sorts.

On the ballad bonus track, “Half of Me,” co-written by Adele, Rihanna makes a plea for people to understand that her public persona is just a part of the person that she is: “You saw me on a television / Hanging on my dirty linen / You're entitled to your own opinion / Said you shake your head in my decision / I guess the kinda songs that I been singing / Make it seem as if I'm always winning / But you saw me on a television.” 

A solid combination of ambitious ballads (“Stay,” “Get It Over With,” and “Love Without Tragedy”), grimy hip-hop and R&B hybrids (“Numb” ft. Eminem, “Loveeeee” ft. Future, and “Pour It Up”), strong mid-tempos (“Jump” and “No Love Allowed”) and a record with techno pop genius, David Guetta (“Right Now”), turns what seems like a random mesh of music, into the perfect package of her own life story.

Rihanna’s throaty efforts on “Unapologetic” prove much stronger than any of her previous work and demonstrate an overarching growth in her self-assurance both personally and musically. Overall, the album’s content is controversial yet beautifully authentic: a perfect answer to any questions the world may have had, no apologies included.

Read more of NT's album reviews here.

Reach Staff Reporter Courtney here. Follow her on Twitter here



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