Rihanna's 'Talk That Talk': What the Critics Are Saying
The singer's sixth studio album is a mix of electro-pop and hip-hop tracks with a notably lighter tone than her previous two albums.
Rihanna’s sixth studio album, Talk That Talk, had already broken the iTunes top 10 more than a week before its scheduled debut.
Talk That Talk includes a variety of electro-pop and hip-hop tracks, as well as a few ballads. The album, which was available for download on Nov. 11, was released on Nov. 21 via Def Jam Records.
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Critics have received the album favorably, with many noting that this album seems less dark than her previous two albums, Rated R (2009) and Loud (2010). Additionally, critics pointed out, while it may be less tortured, the album is packed with sexualize content.
“Rihanna is shooting for more crowd-pleasing music -- and what's more universal than the concept of love? "We Found Love," "Drunk on Love," "We All Want Love" and other Talk songs that don't happen to have "Love" in the title all offer simple, gorgeous-sounding accounts of romance,” wrote Jason Lipshutz of Billboard.
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“Talk That Talk is a fleshed-out statement that captures Rihanna's relentless drive and will likely keep her on top. This album's not a victory lap; it's a whole new race,” continued Lipshutz.
“Rihanna wants her music to bang, and she does so by continuing to mine the connection between R&B, hip-hop and house. A few of these tracks, most obviously "We Found Love," her collaboration with Scottish producer Calvin Harris, and "Where Have You Been," wouldn't be out of place at Electric Daisy Carnival,” wrote Randall Roberts of The Los Angeles Times.
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“But Rihanna’s love is an obsessive sort. She doesn’t want to be your soulmate the way Beyoncé does. She doesn’t feel all giddy inside the way Katy Perry claims you make her feel. Instead, Rihanna equates love to feelings of drunkenness and uncontrollable addiction — the stuff of tragedy,” wrote Time’s Claire Suddath.
“I’m happy to report that Talk That Talk is much more lighthearted than her previous efforts,” added Suddath.
“In the recent past Rihanna exhibited a cool nonchalance; here, she’s trapped between playing the characters of a ruthless dominatrix and a docile sort willing to be putty in a boy’s hands. If the real Rihanna doesn’t stand up for her seventh LP, one has to wonder if she’ll ever find herself again,” wrote BBC’s Mike Diver.
“Probably the most potent ingredient in the mix is the Barbadian singer's charisma. With her knowing naughtiness, she keeps the constant innuendos from becoming tiresome. They seem to come with a wink and a smile,” wrote USA Today’s Steve Jones.