I would like to think that I'm like most people when it comes to Rihanna. Throughout her career, I've enjoyed some of her radio hits, though never being too impressed by her talent or stage presence. When it came time for her to release her fourth album Rated R, I was hoping for her to stick with the strengths of her last effort Good Girl Gone Bad, but due to her having quite a bit to think about & doing an unavoidable amount of growing over the past year, I didn't know what to expect. At first, I thought Rated R was a decent album, but needed more of the uptempos I had been expecting. However, as Entertainment Weekly recently said when naming Rated R the year's Best Pop Album, time certainly paints a much different picture!
"Mad House" ♫: This relatively short intro is incredibly infectious & just how it should be. It's really just one line repeated the entire time along with various adlibs, but I definitely wouldn't have it any other way. 4.5/5
"Wait Your Turn" ♫: This is the absolute perfect promo single. The song is scorching hot & I loved the video for what it was as well. 4.5/5
"Hard" (ft. Young Jeezy) ♫: I cannot believe how long I've been practically listening to this song on repeat & it still hasn't gotten old. It's awesome! 5/5
"Stupid In Love" ♫: This is the only song I can't stand & skip everytime I listen to the album. Sure the lyrics are appropriate, but it's unnecessary. 1/5
"ROCKSTAR 101" (ft. Slash) ♫: My goodness, I love this song. I've always said that I hate the sound of guitars, but thanks to Rihanna, I'm changing that to just acoustic guitars; RiRi, stick to rock, girl! 5/5
"Russian Roulette" ♫: I'm not quite as over-the-moon about this one, but it's still a good song. Rihanna's vocals have come a looong way since "Unfaithful." 4/5
"Fire Bomb" ♫: My favorite song on the album. (A ballad? I know!) Why? Two words: James Fauntleroy. My unhealthy obsession with his music isn't helped by the fact that he is all over this album. 5/5
"Rude Boy" ♫: One of the lone uptempos on the album, this song is straight fire. My favorite part is the "wa-wa-want" business! 4.5/5
"Photographs" (ft. will.i.am) ♫: Rihanna often tells the story of how she swiped this song from The Black-Eyed Peas & if only I knew how to properly express my gratitude. It has all the strengths of '09 will.i.am music, but without all that obnoxious BEP noise. 4.5/5
"G4L" ♫: Yes the main reason I love this song is because it's another J-Faunt joint, but I have to give some props to a friend of mine (you know who you are) for really bringing my attention to it. Don't get all uppity about the lyrics; just bask in the stylish & musical genius! 5/5
"Te Amo" ♫: I really liked this when it leaked & I still do now. 4.5/5
"Cold Case Love" ♫: This is the first Rated R ballad (due to its leak) that really made me perk up & pay attention. The longest song on the album, I wouldn't shorten it a single second. 4.5/5
"The Last Song" ♫: This one's my latest obsession. It's the only thing I can think of that breaks your heart, yet keeps you genuinely wanting to return for more. James Fauntleroy's background vocals at the end give me freaking LIFE! 5/5
Rated R truly is a magnificent album with the perfect blend of uptempos & ballads, most of the credit for which I must give to James Fauntleroy, The-Dream, & Tricky Stewart, the latter two of which produced "Hard" & "ROCKSTAR 101." I even love all the visual aspects attached to it. For the first time, Rihanna really demonstrated what makes her special as an artist & delivered a great album. That Rihanna reign just don't let up!
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars