By Nicholas HautmanStaff Writer
If you feel like Rihanna releases a new album every year, it’s because she does. Releasing seven albums in a short span of seven years is a fairly uncommon – yet prodigious – feat that only Rihanna herself can accomplish. With her latest, Unapologetic, the Barbados native singer has reinvented herself once again. The album is polarizing; fans will either love it or hate it. The title itself is practically a comment on that. With this release, Rihanna is exploring territories that fans never expected her to touch. It’s a very experimental album for a Top 40 artist. But isn’t that what we all love about Rih? The album kicks off with an electro, hip-hop inspired track entitled “Presh Out the Runway.” At times, the production is so massive that it’s difficult to understand what Rihanna is saying. She also spits a few rhymes on “Pour It Up,” a song that makes her sound like the female version of Tyga. She raps, “Strip clubs and dollar bills / Patron shots, can I get a refill?” over a booty-clapping beat. For those of you who prefer the “We Found Love” and “Where Have You Been”-esque songs, there are two huge dance anthems on Unapologetic – “Jump” and “Right Now.” On “Jump,” Rih samples Ginuwine’s “Pony” as she coos, “If you want it, let’s do it / Ridin’ my pony / My saddle is waiting / Come and jump on it” shortly before a generic dubstep beat kicks in. “Right Now” features a huge production, thanks to David Guetta. It’s very likely that this will be a single; it’s too good to pass up. Last year, Rihanna released a remix of “Birthday Cake” that featured a controversial duet with Chris Brown, who returns on Unapologetic for “Nobody’s Business,” a song heavily inspired by Michael Jackson. In fact, it snatches the lyric “It ain’t nobody’s business but mine and my baby” from his 1987 hit “The Way You Make Me Feel.” At one point, Brown even mimics MJ’s famous grunts as Rih sings the chorus. It is undeniable that Rihanna and Chris Brown have an incredible chemistry together despite their tumultuous past. This track, arguably the best on the album, solidifies why the pair is meant to be together. Rihanna also shows her softer side on Unapologetic. The first single “Diamonds” is a beautifully produced, midtempo song that we’ve all come to love. Another midtempo song, “What Now,” features a powerful chorus that proves how much Rihanna’s vocals have grown since we first met her in 2005. She returns to her reggae roots, á la “Rude Boy” (2009) and “Man Down” (2011), on “No Love Allowed,” an infectious but extremely chill song. The album closes in the best possible way with “Lost In Paradise.” It’s a unique cross between a beautiful ballad and a bass-thumping dance track. It’s clear that Unapologetic may just be her best album yet. Together, all of these tracks show how capable Rihanna is of turning everything that she touches into diamonds (pun intended). Shine on, Rihanna.