Last year saw the release of three Rihanna singles, each so different we really had no idea where she was going to take her new album. And now that Anti has dropped, none of the singles are on it. With styles ranging from funk to dancehall and a third of the songs under three minutes, the pop princess is out to show that even on her eighth record she can keep things slick and fresh.
Anti has a harsh sound, reflecting Rihanna’s complicated life. “Will you ever respect me?” she asks in the pop opener, Consideration. The song is stripped back, with a simple rhythm and bass backing to let Rihanna’s big, agonised voice shine.
But the singer’s normally carefree attitude comes out in the melodic James Joint and R&B highlight Needed Me.
Love On the Brain, Higher and Closer to You are raw, soulful ballads where Rihanna sings her heart out, pushing her vocals to their limits. With a voice as strong as her attitude, Rihanna doesn’t need to stick to radio-hit recipes.