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Album Review: Rihanna - Unapologetic

16 January 2013 | 7:47 pm | Jake Dennis

"From its cocksure and swagger-dripping opening track to the synth-silly final song, Unapologetic makes no apologies and, because of the industry power of the artist concerned, requires none."

Rihanna has long stopped caring what critics think of her and this album's title and arresting cover proclaim that. Unapologetic, her seventh studio album, maintains the Barbadian babe's recent predilection for dubstep beats and electronic dance music. Its release, just one year after Talk That Talk, preserves the hard-working cover girl's trend of dropping an album every year. Lucky for fans, this album seems less hastily assembled.

The 14-track album's first half pulses with club beats. Diamonds, with its catchy chorus and Right Now featuring David Guetta, are among the LP's best. Eminem's 30-second snippet on the neuron-killingly repetitive Numb is a weak follow-up to their previous collaborations. The rap may be Eminem's worst and is followed, extremely inanely, by a song with an identical tempo. The album's second half is much more varied. What Now, a ballad which would suit stadium concerts, showcases the singer's growing vocal strength. Nobody's Business featuring Chris Brown is an uplifting feel good duet with a disco tinge that recalls the upbeat mood of Rihanna's first three albums. The lovebirds' 'fuck you' to critics is reminiscent of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown's response to naysayers on Something In Common. The album's most unexpected lyrics come with a confession about spiritual frailties to Mother Mary and “Mister Jesus”.

Some may lament the album's chilled second half and the lack of musical surprise in Rihanna's latest release but the sampling of multiple styles, including reggae and the erogenous R&B of Ginuwine's Pony, make the album a worthwhile acquisition. From its cocksure and swagger-dripping opening track to the synth-silly final song, Unapologetic makes no apologies and, because of the industry power of the artist concerned, requires none.