Album Review: Anti (Rihanna Takes a Step in a New Exciting Direction)


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 [tweet_box design=”box_13_at” float=”left” width=”40%” author=”Nick Vespe” pic_url=””]I never thought I’d compare Rihanna to the Beatles, but ‘Higher’ is so reminiscent of ‘Oh Darling![/tweet_box]

Rihanna holds a dear place in my heart. At the age of thirteen, I learned how to dance with girls to her song ‘Disturbia’ and I owe my powerful moves to that funky track. Since then I have seen her in concert twice and get excited when she releases any new material. When I heard she was moving away from the dance/club genre for this album in favor of soul/R&B, I was ecstatic. I found out while listening to the album that she does move into more R&B territory but there is still a good chunk of club songs as well. Rihanna has lots of talent that she does not utilize with her pop songs but that are showcased in this album.

‘Same Ol’ Mistakes’ is wonderful. It’s Rihanna’s ballad. It’s ironic actually, it’s almost like Rihanna knows that this album sounds like two separate albums. She sings, “[tweet_dis]Two sides of me can’t agree/When I breathe in too deep/Going with what I always longed for/Feel like a brand new person[/tweet_dis]”. She has these singles and pop tracks, but then when you get deeper into the album, you find these emotional zingers which I believe are better than any of her singles. She also sings, “Finally taking flight/I know you don’t think it’s right/I know that you think it’s fake/Maybe fake’s what I like/Point is I have the right”. She’s pointing out how everyone just wants her to push out these ‘Work’ songs, and I’m not to sure she’s as ready to do that as she was before. This is a song that touch on personal elements and has importance in her life, this is what I love! This is what makes me excited! Rihanna, please continue down this path, an artist releases their best music when they can be this raw. It is a breath of fresh air.

[tweet_dis]I never thought I’d compare Rihanna to the Beatles, but ‘Higher’ is so reminiscent of ‘Oh Darling!’ off of Abbey Road.[/tweet_dis] Rihanna did learn a thing or two from Sir Paul McCartney. In both songs, they sing about love, and they sing in a way that their voices are completely strained. You hear the ache in her voice, and it’s so genuine. A modern day Beatles song is nothing to bat an eye over. Sometimes we forget Rihanna can sing, and she can sing. This might just be my favorite song on the album; it’s just too dang short.

I saw Rihanna perform once with Ke$ha and once with Eminem. When she performed with Eminem about two years ago, she complimented his hardcore style very well. It is the reason songs like ‘Monster’ or ‘Numb’ really work well. I wish she had a hardcore feature like that on this album. Drake’s feature on ‘Work’ come off as too soft. I understand this is Rihanna’s album, and she doesn’t need anyone else to make it great but after some of the slower songs you find yourself waiting for something lyrically strong to interrupt the flow. 

Overall I loved the deeper tracks and relatively enjoyed the pop tracks; let’s say they would be great at a club. It does feel like this is two different albums mixed into one. [tweet_dis]You have those songs that are on the pop side like ‘Work’ and ‘Woo’, but then you have these songs that are unlike anything Rihanna has ever put out before.[/tweet_dis] The powerful jams like ‘Higher’, and ‘Same Ol’ Mistakes’ that are leaps and bounds ahead of the other songs. On some level, I feel like Rihanna is subconscious and thinks an album will not sell if it includes just songs like ‘Higher’ or ‘Same Ol Mistakes’. She has proven to be an influential musician for pop music; now I think it’s time for her to branch out and dive deeper into her sound. This album is a step in the right direction. Worth the purchase.


Also, why is ‘Sex With Me’ a bonus track?! It’s such a jam!

Author: Nick Vespe

Nick Vespe is a current undergraduate student at the University of Southern California studying Narrative Studies in Film, Television, and Novels. In his free time, he creates the comic ‘Monkey Legs’, the acclaimed web-series ‘Dormz’, and is in a hip-hop/comedy group called ‘Vespe Bros.’ Learn more about Nick at his website

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