ANTI - An Album Review

Rihanna’s pop, dance-driven music has been giving us something to shake it to since 2005. I, for one, can distinctly remember vacuuming my house to “Pon de Replay,” the upbeat, fun rhythm was what got my through my weekly chores, tbh. But RiRi’s come a long way from her young and carefree music of the early 2000s, and this album looks like the beginning of something beautiful. This album brought the REAL; raw emotion and meaningful lyrics, which is a far cry of her “Please Don’t Stop the Music” days of the past (not that I don’t still love that music, love ya RiRi). ANTI is more of an alternative album than the rest of her work, which is maybe where the name itself comes from. Rihanna seems to have perfected the art of keeping her R&B roots while still being able to venture out and experiments with different styles. Each song is different from the last, making the entire album an incredible journey that you can have on repeat over and over again.

Now it’s probably obvious by now that I love the entire album and could talk about each and every song for at least a few hours. However, I’ve decided to pick out some of my favorites.

First on the list is “Consideration,” which features the soulful, otherworldly SZA. The two make an impressive combination, their soulful voices soothing over the fuzzy, broken-up beat. It’s an interesting note to start the album on, and it seems like Rihanna is demanding her respect for herself and for her album, as it’s vastly different from her old music. It’s RiRi’s way of saying, “This is mine, I own it, and I’m gonna 'do things my own way.'”

Lines that stand out: Do things my own way darling / You should just let me / Why you will never let me grow?

Next is the single “Work,” featuring the one and only Drake. With its catchy verse about going to work, it’s sure to be a hit for the radio. The song also brings out her Barbadian side with some Caribbean slang in the hook. In the midst of an extremely repetitives hook and some vaguely understandable slang, the message in the song still comes through. It seems like Rihanna’s really looking for someone to put in as much work as she does into the relationship. Guess she’s looking for that love in a hopeless place again.

Lines that stand out: I believed all of your dreams, adoration / You took my heart and my keys and my patience / You took my heart on my sleeve for decoration / You mistaken my love I brought for you for foundation

Produced by hit-maker DJ Mustard, “Needed Me,” is most definitely a winner on this album. Not only is the dark, mysterious synth beat intriguing, but the entire song pretty much SLAYS. It’s basically Rihanna telling any man trying to claim her that she ain’t nobody but her own. Women everywhere are calling this their “anthem.” If you’re ever feeling played by a boy, give this one a listen to remind yourself that you’re an independent woman and you sure as hell don’t need no man.

Lines that stand out: Didn’t they tell you that I was a savage? / F*** ya white horse and a carriage/ Bet you never could imagine / Never told you you could have it

Now cue the tears. “Never Ending” one of the slower, more emotional songs on the record and MAN, it wrecks me every time. Like tears streaming down face emoji wrecked. Anyways, the song features Rihanna’s soothing voice with a beautiful acoustic chord progression to accompany it. She talks about love, both the loss of it and her struggles to accept it again later in life. It seems that, like most people, love has changed her, and she struggles with her identity because of it.

Lines that stand out: Ghost in the mirror / I knew your face once, but now it's unclear / And I can't feel my body now / I separate from here and now

Finally it’s “Higher,” the two-minute long song that I truly wish would have been longer, that shows RiRi at her most vulnerable and most beautiful. Her voice comes through strong in the song, and her words poetic. The song seems to come from a different Rihanna than the one spewing lines about sex and drugs. In “Higher,” she bares it all and confesses absolutely everything, and it seems like this is what the album’s been trying to do this entire time - come clean about who she truly is. Orrrr it could really be the song that simply commemorates her undying love for marijuana.

Lines that stand out: I wanna go back to the old way / But I'm drunk instead, with a full ashtray / With a little bit too much to say

Overall, the entire album is worth a listen. And if you’re anything like me and you love RiRi, this is probably the most revealing and insightful work she’s put out in a while, so if you give it a listen you’ll be that much closer to understanding the queen that is Rihanna.

 

Fun facts provided by yours truly:

  1. On the song, “Pose,” there is a distinct noise that sounds JUST like the sound an iPhone makes when a message is sent. Gets me every time.

  2. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but the beginning of “Consideration,” sends me some major Tyler, the Creator vibes. Every time it comes on I’m reminded of “Yonkers.”

  3. Also, could just be me, but “James Joint” sends me some major Frankie Ocean vibes as well.

  4. “Same Ol’ Mistakes” is actually a cover of Tame Impala’s “New Person, Same Old Mistakes.”