Music Review: ANTI by Rihanna

Released on January 28th, ANTI is Rihanna’s long awaited 8th studio Album, and it's pretty damn cool. Although Im personally not a massive Rihanna fan (except for the cheesy old hits like ‘Umbrella’ of course…) I was surprised by how good I thought ANTI was. It feels fresh and authentic, and I would definitely recommend that you all go and listen to it. 


On the whole, ANTI feels like a step forwards for Rihanna; a progression to something a bit slicker than her last album ‘Apologetic’, which is more dub and club than smooth and soulful, which is exactly what ANTI is. Speaking of smooth, perhaps one of the highlights is the first single from the album, the track ‘Work’ featuring Drake, who’s vocals just ooze smooth all over the place. 




The first track ‘Consideration’ lays the foundations of the album, with the strong beat and minimalism sustained for the majority of the album. The album is quite varied in terms of track length, with a few songs under 2 minutes, and one mega 6 minute track, ‘Same Ol’Mistakes.’ I loved this song; it's etherial whilst at the same time having a strong beat. The layering of vocals and the synth tones creates a track which just flows effortlessly over you. This is the vibe at the heart of the album, and I think that Rihanna achieves something that feels more stylised here. She has created a body of tracks to be listened to as a whole for maximum affect, like a sort of minimal pop symphony, rather than just producing a few club hits, which I think is the thing that will ultimately gives her gravitas as an artist. 


Theres also a soulful edge to the album, with the track ‘Never Ending’ featuring acoustic guitar and vocals pleading ‘to feel alive again.’ Indeed, the album largely deals with personal relationships, love, sex and drug use - as most albums usually do. However, with songs such as ‘Love on the Brain,’ you do get the sense of real emotional engagement with the old-school soul vibes. I would even say that a few tracks, including ‘Higher,’ are incredibly similar to Sia’s work, with great long, high vocals. The only thing I would say lets the album down is the few bonus tracks on the deluxe edition, which I don't think are in keeping with the chilled, cool and smooth tones of the rest of the album; they lapse back into old dub and club Rihanna. 


If I had to sum up my thoughts on the album in just a word, it would be 'cool'. Its definitely worth a listen - perfect for long monotonous train journeys (which we are all used to as students in Cornwall!) or just lying in a darkened room. 


However, I'm not sure if many of the tunes will be pulled out in Club I, which will of course be the ultimate form of judgement in the end.