Favorite

Rihanna: Unapologetic (Def Jam) 

As I type these words, the Rihanna plane has just careened to a sudden landing, and her hostages have disembarked.

It's a fascinating and difficult moment to think through Rihanna and her celebrity. Unapologetic marks a significant shift in the crafting of her persona, finding her in full-fledged defiance mode after the last few tentative years since The Incident. While 2011's Talk That Talk had a title track featuring guest-MC and protective big-brother-figure Jay-Z, Unapologetic boasts a song called "Nobody's Business" featuring ex-boyfriend/ex-batterer Chris Brown—and in case you were wondering, the song is truly and spectacularly awful. Rihanna's not going to be our 21st-century Tina Turner, storming out on Ike and thus cementing her place in the pantheon of feminist pop goddesses.

Unapologetic might work better as a manifesto if it featured Rihanna at the height of her powers. It makes perfect sense that she would want to send the message that she won't and shouldn't have to justify her personal choices, but her defensiveness has dulled her hooks rather than sharpened them. If anything, Unapologetic could stand to be more of a "fuck you" (like, maybe if the song featuring Brown had been amazing rather than embarrassing).

Lead single "Diamonds" is a fine but tepid midtempo song with lackluster musical ideas that are bolstered mostly by the rhythm of Sia Furler's lyrical contributions.

Rihanna can execute a pop song, but can she immortalize one anymore? Unapologetic unapologetically suggests the answer is no.

More by Sean Bottai

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

The Range

Weekly List: 15 Things To Do In Tucson In The Next 10 Days

Win Tickets to See Orgy at the Rock on Jan. 24

Gabe Sullivan: Songwriting Machine!

More »

Latest in Rhythm & Views

  • Rhythm & Views

    American Monoxide “In Flight Mode” (People In A Position To Know)
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • Rhythm & Views

    Wight Lhite “Beyond the Satellites” (Paisley Shirt Records)
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • People Who Died: Leonard Cohen by Howe Gelb

    Leonard had a voice with the authority to soothe the journey of a treacherous landscape we insist on traversing, says Giant Sand's Howe Gelb.
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • Noise Annoys

    Levine Rounds up Tucson’s Best Releases of ’16 (PT. 2)
    • Dec 22, 2016
  • More »

Facebook Activity

© 2017 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation