Rihanna's Artpiece 'Anti' Fails to Conjure Emotion

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, February 10th, 2016 at 10:27 PM
Rihanna's Artpiece 'Anti' Fails to Conjure Emotion by Kimberly Firestine

In a world where the phrase “free download” terrifies musicians, Rihanna embraced the challenge. Releasing her new album Wednesday, “Anti” is now streaming and available for free download on the newest music platform, Tidal, and Spotify.

If you expect to plug into “Anti” and listen to tracks that fit in with the current top 40, quit while you’re ahead. There’s nothing in this LP you would hear in its original version in a club or at a party. It’s not a manufactured danceheavy pop album. As one of the most anticipated albums since she started teasing a new release, “Anti” is different than anything we’ve heard from Rihanna. The songstress goes back to the basics with this album, keeping beats simple and production low, but it’s left to be said whether or not it was worth the risk.

The album is Rihanna’s eighth studio album, and her seasoned artistry shows in tracks “Work” (featuring Drake) and “Needed Me.” In standout track “Never Ending,” Rihanna sings, “it’s pulling me apart, this time/Everything is never ending/ Slipped into a peril that I’ll never understand,” an emotional, uncharacteristic acoustic display of Rihanna’s vocal improvement since her last release “Unapologetic.”

Perhaps the most confusing song on the album comes in the form of “Good Night Gotham,” running a mere 1:28 and consisting of only one lyric: “only if for the night.” At first listen, it sounds as if Tidal has a glitch, but it’s really just the same beat with the same lyrics repeating over and over and over again. On the opposite spectrum, the ninth song, titled “Same Ol’ Mistakes,” seems to just keep going as it runs 6:37 and leaves listeners with the chance to take a bathroom break without missing anything too crucial.

Partner “Good Night Gotham” with the disappointment of not seeing hits “FourFiveSeconds” and “Bitch Better Have My Money” make the album, “Anti” is nothing anyone expected. It’s not for those looking for another pop/dance album or for those used to Rihanna reigning as a dominating pop artist.

Her most eclectic and questionable release to date, “Anti” will take more than two or three listens to warm up to if you’re willing to give it a chance.

Kimberly Firestine is the Senior Staff Writer for The Spectator.

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