13 Songs, 51 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Rihanna’s fourth album explores late-’00s pop’s darker corners while allowing the Barbados-born phenomenon to flaunt her musical growth. The Jeezy-assisted stomper “Hard” and the dancehall-tinged come-on “Rude Boy” evoke a packed club’s last-call clamor; “Rockstar 101” and “Fire Bomb” show how Rihanna’s commanding attitude and larger-than-life persona are well-matched with electric-guitar pyrotechnics. Ballads like the stark “Russian Roulette” and the wistful “The Last Song” display her maturation as a singer, their restrained arrangements making ample room for her subtle emoting.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Rihanna’s fourth album explores late-’00s pop’s darker corners while allowing the Barbados-born phenomenon to flaunt her musical growth. The Jeezy-assisted stomper “Hard” and the dancehall-tinged come-on “Rude Boy” evoke a packed club’s last-call clamor; “Rockstar 101” and “Fire Bomb” show how Rihanna’s commanding attitude and larger-than-life persona are well-matched with electric-guitar pyrotechnics. Ballads like the stark “Russian Roulette” and the wistful “The Last Song” display her maturation as a singer, their restrained arrangements making ample room for her subtle emoting.

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