Catchy pop is Rihanna's specialty. Is it any good?
Kim Taylor Bennett
Loud 3/5 For the past two mornings, we’ve woken up with Rihanna’s ‘Only Girl (in the World)’ looping round our brain. Such is the seductive staying power of her current trance-synth smash that even our internal organs seemed intent on throwing down at 8am.
If only the rest of her fifth album followed suit. We’ve deduced that the 22-year-old has committed roughly five moments of brilliance to tape. ‘Raining Men’, Rihanna’s collaboration with girl-of-the moment Nicki Minaj, is 21st-century cut ’n’ paste hip-hop-pop with speedy cymbal ratatats. And even though it’s often a case of TMI, Ms Fenty is at her best when she’s laying down lyrics about her seemingly unquenchable lust. ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me,’ she sings on the pumped up opening track ‘S&M’.
Predictably, the album falls down on the slowies, with ‘California King Bed’ mired in bad lyrics and ’80s guitar fret-finagling. Still, we love Rihanna in a modern music consumer way: it’s all about the singles, and we’ll forgive the filler in between.