Rihanna doesn’t follow the rules. Her latest album, “Anti,” is no exception.
Building more anticipation with each delayed release date, Rihanna’s latest album highlights a different side of the singer that is well worth the wait.
“Anti” shows Rihanna is now not only an expert at creating chart-topping hits but a masterful artist capable of creating an album with a range of sounds and lyrical diversity.
Though “Anti” is missing a dance-floor hit most fans associate with Rihanna, that doesn’t mean the album lacks quality.
In the song “Higher,” violin swells fill the opening bars, and she starts with “This whiskey got me feeling pretty/ so pardon if I’m impolite.” It’s Rihanna like we’ve never heard her, belting a love song that sounds straight out of a smoky dive bar.
“Higher” is the song to sing along to at full volume. And at exactly two minutes, it’s one of the shorter songs on the album, keeping listeners thirsty.
She follows that song with “Close to You,” another lovesick ballad. With just her voice and a piano for most of the track, Rihanna lets the lyrics and her voice carry the song, crooning, “No, you don’t need my protection/ But I’m in love, can’t blame me for checking.”
On her cover of Tame Impala’s “Same Ol’ Mistakes,” Rihanna pivots her sound, flooding the song with synth-pop, vocal echoes and a psychedelic sound with R&B vibes.
Repeating “Feel like a brand new person” throughout the song, Rihanna indeed sounds like a new artist in the best way possible.
Despite all the changes and growth, Rihanna’s sexy prowess is still a staple sprinkled throughout “Anti.”
“You know I got the sauce,” Rihanna reminds us during the song “Sex with Me,” but with “Anti,” fans don’t need the reminder.
She’s worth the wait, and the sauce is even better after a three-year simmer.
Sia THIS IS ACTING
She is the woman behind chart-topping pop songs, but Sia’s latest album, “This Is Acting,” sounds like anything but leftover hits.
She’s eclectic, hiding behind big wigs, performing with her back to audiences during live shows and lending her songwriting talent to other artists. Still, the faceless songstress’ new album proves her talent supersedes what listeners do or don’t see.
Though most of the songs on the album are rejects from songwriting gigs with Rihanna, Adele and Beyoncé, the pop music veteran belts the lyrics with an uncanny passion.
Given that all songs on “This Is Acting” were written for other artists, the album still resonates with cohesion. Her haunting, hushed voice marries the songs together from tracks about love lost to dancing carefree on a Friday night.
The single “Alive” is another dramatic pop-ballad Sia has become famous for, but the song also doubles as the album’s mantra: “I told you that I would never be forgotten/And all in spite of you/ And I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing.”
While the hitmaker’s album reincarnates lost gems, it also shows growth with advanced production and lyrics.
The song “One Million Bullets” is packed with vocal echoes and swelling background singers. It’s stacked with intricate production from Jesse Shatkin (who also produced Sia’s hit “Chandelier”) that draws in listeners.
“This Is Acting” proves Sia isn’t just a hit-single dealer but a worthy star all on her own.