Rihanna’s sixth studio album in six years, Talk That Talk, is finally out, a mere 12 months after the arrival of the “We Found Love” singer’s previous LP Loud. Critics have given the record mixed reviews. Chalk it up to RiRi’s hyper-sexualized pop schtick seeming passe at this point? Or perhaps, at 11 chart-topping singles into her rapid-fire career, she’s already upped the level of expectation to a near-impossible level to reach? See what the Internet at large had to say about Rihanna’s Talk below, and let us know if you agree with their assessments.
:: The Washington Post ponders Rihanna’s place in pop divadom: “If Lady Gaga is an android sent from the future and Beyonce is a Sherman tank of bottomless ambition and great teeth and Britney Spears is a human vacancy sign, what is Rihanna? She could be anyone. She’s a shapeshifter to be sure, a blur of hit singles and brightly colored weaves. But what else? There isn’t another entertainer in the public eye who seems so remote, so indifferent to its gaze.”
:: The New York Post feels the album walks the walk: “Talk That Talk has far more island rhythms and sway than last year’s Loud, and more hip hop, too. If that makes it a less ecstatic record than her 2010 work, as well as a less pop-friendly one, it does make it one with more edge.”
:: Arjan Writes is also down with RiRi’s latest: “If there’s something that Rihanna and her team have down to a science it’s finding just the right group of people to work her vision into an irresistible pop sound that is contemporary yet includes the right amount of soundboard innovation.”
:: Consequence Of Sound fears for the singer’s credibility: “As efficient and overall beneficial to her career as the approach may be, releasing two albums in such proximity could have negative effects on the Rihanna train. Because, beyond a shadow of a doubt, Loud is the superior monster, all thanks to its massive string of hits, including ‘S&M’ and ‘What’s My Name?’ What we get from Talk That Talk, though, are examples of creative stagnation in cuts like the title track and ‘Farewell’.”
:: The Los Angeles Times zeroes in on the naughtiness: “Even the slower songs feature double-snare riddims that suggest energy, even when paced down; overall, the bass is heavier, the sounds are nastier, and by the second half of the record, Rihanna’s intentions are decidedly, unapologetically …. hornier. Call it Technotronic on steroids, Lady Gaga on Viagra, Millie Jackson on ecstasy: These are pumped-up hits aimed at the pelvic region.”
:: The Houston Chronicle hears a bit of sparkle within the darkness: “As with any good pop album, there’s a lot of talk about the perils of love. (Rihanna even employs a Chris Brown double in the frenetic clip for ‘We Found Love’.) But there are glimmers of hope through the heartbreak.”
:: Likewise, Spin has this positive take on the album: “Where last year’s Loud had a hefty helping of unshakable singles, this album’s arc, however simple — sex, love, sex, repeat — is cohesive and sweet.”
:: Meanwhile, NME just hears blandness: “Her usually perfect hit-rate of sonic surprises is disappointingly low due, one suspects, to half the album having been monopolised by chart-botherers Dr Luke and Stargate. TTT is filled with tinny-sounding ’90s Europop, the kind of stuff that hangs around the playlists of commercial radio for months. And when it’s not playing it safe, the album re-treads old ground.
:: The Chicago Tribune also wants no part of Talk: “Despite her commercial achievements – 20 million worldwide album sales, the youngest artist ever to achieve 10 No. 1 singles – her music is starting to sound thin and predictable. At 37 minutes, Talk That Talk is both skimpy in length and content. It’s also her friskiest album yet — and that’s saying something. In comparison to the dark, disturbing film noir of her excellent 2009 album, Rated R, this is a chintzy soft-core porn movie.”