Rihanna rih-invents with ‘Anti’ release


“Anti” by Rihanna

By Managing Editor

Rihanna has consistently served popular music since her 2005 debut with Music of the Sun, which produced the singer’s first of 13 (and still counting) No. 1 singles, “Pon de Replay.”

If there was one thing fans could count on from Rihanna—known for her signature yearly album releases and club-friendly hits—it was for her to produce a banger.

Now, just more than 10 years and seven albums later, Rihanna’s most anticipated album yet has finally dropped.

Released Jan. 27 for free download through streaming service Tidal, Anti marks a clear departure from the Rihanna many have grown to love. Fans expecting another collection of dancehall anthems and radio hits will be disappointed to find that Anti is entirely banger-free.

Instead, the album is full of downtempo, introspective and heartfelt songs. 

Anti shows an abrupt change in Rihanna’s musical style, but it is her strongest album yet.

Each of its 13 tracks offers a sound that is more mature and developed than anything Rihanna has previously released. The overall album is cohesive, original and unique in the sense that only Rihanna could pull it off.

Until now, Rihanna has largely been considered a singles artist. With each of her previous albums came a larger-than-life lead single followed by a string of major-to-moderate hits. Anti, however, contains no clear singles.

But it does contain a handful of standout tracks, including the electric guitar riff-heavy, smooth “Kiss It Better,” Rihanna’s six-and-a-half-minute cover of Tame Impala’s psychedelic “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” (renamed “Same Ol’ Mistakes” on Anti) and the doo-wop love ballad “Love On The Brain.”

Notably missing from the album, however, are the three buzz singles—”FourFiveSeconds,” “Bitch Better Have My Money” and “American Oxygen”— Rihanna released in early 2015 during the beginning of the album’s promotional campaign. It’s OK, though, as the style of the songs doesn’t exactly fit the style of the album and would detract from its cohesion.

Their absence, however, is unsurprising given that Rihanna announced she would do “the very antithesis of what the public expects” shortly after revealing the album’s title in October 2015.

The release of Anti is a turning point in Rihanna’s career. The album cements Rihanna’s status as a living legend and proves her ability to release quality music and not just disposable pop hits, delivering on the artist’s promises of a major “Rih-invention.”

While Anti may not be the Saturday night pregame album many expected, the release is high-quality and innovative, eclipsing the singer’s previous seven albums.