Rihanna | Loud

Def Jam (2010)
By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  November 9, 2010
2.0 2.0 Stars

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Let's be honest here: the average human doesn't care about RiRi's need to express her artistic personality through music and would be more psyched if it were just 11 versions of "Don't Stop the Music" — or 11 Shy Ronnie sketches. Part of the problem is Rihanna's essential blandness in a post-Gaga/post-Idol pop market, but mostly it comes down to the siren-song nature of her amazingly recognizable voice. When you're a great singer with indelible pipes, you kinda cease to be a human being. Rihanna's need to make grander and grander statements in album form might explain why her music keeps getting stylistically louder (hence the title). Truth be told, though, her previous one, Rated R, wasn't the wrist-slitting darkfest it was made out to be (exhibit A: "Rude Boy"), and her new one is hardly the snazzy popfest it's being touted as. Sure, you have the schoolyard juvenilia of the Drake-assisted "What's My Name?", but you also have the overcooked Eminem drama of the "Love the Way You Lie" sequel and the dark seduction of opener "S&M" mixed in with innocuous soft jams like "California King Bed." Which is a fancy way of saying that just because it's louder doesn't mean there's more to hear.

  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Dance, Rihanna,  More more >
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