Following the heavy, dark mire of Rated R, the album produced after her attack, Loud is like a summer garden party: flirty, upbeat, full of dance-friendly music, major chords and guest appearances.
Lead single Only Girl in the World is a more grown-up version of her Don't Stop the Music - pumping Euro-disco beats and an irresistibly sing-along-able chorus make it a perfect party track.
The singer returns to her Bajan roots on some tracks. Second single What's My Name, featuring Canadian rapper Drake, combines "island" beats with futuristic synths, while on Man Down she unabashedly reverts to her West Indian accent, singing a lyrical ballad of almost Wordsworthian proportions over reggae beats.
California King Bed shows Rihanna's little-shown softer side as she expresses the pain of being physically close to someone but emotionally removed. It's also a reminder that she's not just good at marketing herself - she's can actually sing.
If you've been waiting for Rihanna to return to Umbrella form, relax: the wait is over.