Rihanna – ANTI

It’s a been a long 10 months since the world was first exposed to ‘BBHMM’ – the instantly famous single by Rihanna. The single, while quite satisfying as a single, just built the anticipation for her upcoming full-length studio album, which at the time was untitled.

BBHMM‘ had a surprisingly long shelf-life, since it was released and almost a month after the video was released and then gained more longevity with a series of remixes that clubs and radio played on and on.

The song is so unapologetically Rihanna, with crisp beats and a refreshingly new blend of synths from her Barbadian roots and new-age hip hop had this air of A$AP Rocky meets Beyoncé. A perfect harmony that we long enjoyed.

Until she released ANTI.

Rihanna’s navy waited nearly 2 years for a full-length album, and although that’s what they got from ANTI, it wasn’t what they expected at all. She first released ‘Work’ as a single, which featured Drake, a catchy, mellow and essentially old-school Rihanna from her ‘Man Down’ and ‘LOUD’ era. ‘Work’ very very quickly climbed the charts and it was the perfect time to release the rest of the album, ANTI. However, it was not what anyone was expecting.

Where Rihanna truly shines is singles, from ‘Umbrella’ to ‘Diamonds‘. Her single delves into every kind of genre, and ANTI explores the intoxicating yet mellow sounds that are borderline reminescent of The Weeknd ‘Thursday‘ era.

The problem in this whole equation is that this side of Rihanna is not at all what we were expecting to hear. We were expecting a whole other stronger, more agile and playful side to Rihanna – something that is worth following up after ‘BBHMM’.

Essentially, ANTI became an album no one asked for, yet it’s very easy to enjoy. There are no single-like tracks aside from ‘Work’, yet what the album does, and something Rihanna has been very candid about in interviews since the realise of the album, is that it shows this vulnerable side of Rihanna. A side we’ve seen a lot since her time after Chris Brown, yet not to this level.

The only problem is that an album like that, though enjoyed by the Rihanna Navy, might turn out to have a very short shelf-life. The album did hit triple platinum in a matter of 24 hours, yet how long will people still listen to this album?

The most played tracks from ANTI on our iTunes would be ‘Work’ (of course) and ‘Same Ol’ Mistakes’. 

By Pavan Premaney