March 6, 2016

Review: Rihanna’s “Anti” Doesn’t Live Up To Expectations

Ari Denlow ‘18


It’s been four years since the world has heard new music from Rihanna.
Every year from 2005 to 2012, Rihanna had either released or re-released an album. In this four-year gap, Rihanna has made some notable changes to her career. She left Def Jam Records and signed a new recording contract with Jay Z’s Roc Nation, created her own label, Westbury Road, signed a $25 million sponsorship deal with Samsung and controversially canceled her performance at the 2015 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show to focus on the Samsung-sponsored “ANTIdiaRy” promotion.
In October 2015, Rihanna revealed the “Anti” album cover art, created by Israeli artist Roy Nachum. The album art features a young Rihanna painted in red, black and white with a gold crown on her head. Over the painting, the poem “If They Let Us” by Chloe Mitchell is written in braille.
Beginning in late 2013, Rihanna teased fans with snippets of songs on Snapchat and Instagram with the caption “#r8.” In December 2014, Rihanna surprised fans in Paris with a surprise listening session, which generated more hype around the album.
In 2015, the eight-time Grammy Award winner released three singles: “Four Five
Seconds” featuring Kanye West and Paul McCartney, “B***h Better Have My Money” and “American Oxygen,” none of which were included on the album.
As a whole, “Anti” is Rihanna’s most cohesive album to date. It is raw, filled with emotion and is a step in a new direction from her previous releases. It has darker themes and the lyrics deal mostly with how love is a challenge and her self-confidence.
There are two collaborations on this album, with SZA and Drake, respectively. Standout tracks include “Work” featuring Drake, “Kiss It Better,” “Same Ol’ Mistakes,” “Needed Me” and “Love On the Brain.”
On January 26, 2016, Rihanna released “Work” as the official lead single and the former couple’s song debuted ninth on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and peaked at seventh. The song garnered mixed reviews from critics who complimented Drake's verse but did not like how Rihanna “mumbled” through the lyrics.
After leaking on music streaming service, Tidal, the full album was officially released on iTunes on January 29 and debuted at number 27 on the Billboard Hot 200. In its second week, the album topped the charts and went platinum – bolstered by the 25 million copies purchased by Samsung as part of her $25 million deal.
Not all reviews, however, have been kind. Jenna Wortham of the New York Times, for instance, described it as “the record you make when you don’t need to sell records.”
Perhaps some of the negativity around the album is due to Rihanna’s experimentation with a new genre on this album. “Anti” is truly the album Rihanna wanted to make, however, it may not have been what everyone was hoping for.


As a whole “Anti” is a good album, however it does not live up to the expectations that this superstar has set for her fans. After producing such great hits in the past including, “Pon de Replay,” “Umbrella,” “What’s My Name,” “We Found Love” and “Stay”, it is safe to say that we were hoping for more from her and we are looking forward to see what her next chapter will produce.

Share:

Instagram Feed

Twitter Feed

Pages