Friday, November 13, 2009

Is Rihanna's "Rated R" Worth The Hype?

Right now, all eyes are set on Rihanna. Media, bloggers, fans and critics around the world have given much of their attention to the international pop singer from Barbados as she prepares for the release of her fourth studio album Rated R.

As the Rated R U.S. release date [November 23] draws near, Rihanna, born Robyn Rihanna Fenty, has been photographed and made the top subject of interest more than any celebrity in recent weeks. From her envelope-pushing red carpet high-fashions and

ever-changing hairstyles, many critics have applauded her "comeback" as an ascension to "the hottest chick in the game" title. However, many more have commented about her first interview regarding the February 2009 incident where the world felt sorry for an abused and battered Rihanna by the hands of her on-and-off again boyfriend R&B crooner Chris Brown. Rihanna's "20/20" interview with Diane Sawyer drew top-rating viewership numbers as did the repost videos on hundreds of blog sites.

Publicity over a celebrated music artist's personal matters and public appearances guarantees a great amount of anticipation for a new project. However, the performer's music must equally draw or succeed the general press attention to ensure sales of new albums, singles and concert tickets. After the global breakthrough success of her 2007 album Good Girl Gone Bad, the pressure must be heavy for Rihanna and Def Jam [the record label] to guarantee that Rated R

prolongs the momentum of success.

So far, five recorded songs have been leaked from the Rated R sessions. According to the finalized track, "Bubble Pop," an electro-pop dance tune that samples heavily on the classic house single "Good Life" by Inner City, did not make the cut. Notwithstanding, "Pop" has the potential of being a clubhouse classic. The haunting pop ballad "Russian Roulette," the album's first single made the top ten in pop charts in a few countries despite the controversy over its title and precarious lyrics. "Hard" positions itself as the second single to the delight of R&B listeners whose markets do enjoy as much of Rihanna's tunes as pop radio. Featuring Atlanta rapper Young Jeezy, the tune is the first single for the young diva that sound entirely like a R&B record versus pop. While "Wait Your Turn (The Wait Is Ova)" is the buzz track from the album, the newly leaked "Cold Case Love" reaped much approval from critics and fans alike. Though it sounds like an autobiographic tune regarding her much publicized incident with Brown, the epic ballad produced and written by Justin Timberlake stands out as a favorite from Rated R showing that Rihanna's vocal abilities can handle big ballads despite dismissed as not a good singer as her contemporaries Beyoncé and Mary J. Blige.

The five leaked tunes suggests that Rated R will take a similar direction of its predecessor by having a smörgåsbord of sound without any two songs sounding similar regardless of

producers. All songs are hit-worthy. The difference lies in the artistic direction. Good Girl Gone Bad contained obvious pop hit that played safe with no new sounds. The new album pushes the boundaries wide open leading the Bajan beauty in new music territory with theatrical
musical backdrops and epic production that has not been heard of regularly since the early 1990's. The test occurs in a couple weeks. Will Rihanna's fans and music listeners will get the genius of Rated R, or will it be ahead of its time?

Listen to these leaked tracks and judge for yourself.

"Bubble Pop"

"Cold Case Love"

"Russian Roulette"

"Wait Your Turn (The Wait Is Ova)"

"Hard" (featuring Young Jeezy)

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