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Rihanna’s ‘Unapologetic’ Gets Mixed Reviews

Rihanna‘s seventh album in seven years, “Unapologetic”, was released today and the reviews have started rolling in. Elysa Gardner of USA Today seemed captivated and concerned for the singer at the same time. “The catchiest song on Rihanna’s new album, Unapologetic (* * * out of four), may also be the most disturbing one. On Nobody’s Business, an exuberant, strings-laced duet that nods to great pop-soul records of the ’70s and early ’80s, the singer is joined by fellow star and former steady Chris Brown, his voice limpid and silky smooth. “I want to be your baby,” she croons to the man who pled guilty to assaulting her three and a half years ago. ‘You’ll always be my baby. Tell me what you want now.'”  Gardener also opined about Rihanna’s taste for danger. “There are other infectious tunes on Unapologetic (out Monday), and others that will make you squirm a bit. It’s not always clear if the 24-year-old superstar is being painfully candid or playfully provocative — or which of those approaches should be more unsettling,” she continued.

New York Daily News writer Jim Farber thinks Rihanna’s album was full of hooks. “From Rihanna’s first disc to the latest, her songs often have more to do with bells and whistles than melodies and emotion,” wrote Farber. “Take the first smash off the new disc: “Diamonds.” While the tune isn’t much, the song reels you in with Rihanna’s strange, questioning reading of the title word alone. It’s the kind of weirdo hook you cannot get out of your head. This is a strategy the star mastered in songs ranging from her first hit, “Pon De Replay” (with its nagging patois), to “Umbrella” (with its stuttering “ella” refrain).”

Andrew Hampp of Billboard gave a more positive review of the album and alluded to Rihanna being the new standard for pop music. “On paper, Rihanna releasing her seventh album in seven years would suggest a quantity-over-quality work ethic that’s bound to wear thin. But on “Unapologetic,” Rihanna proves once again that she can set — and often raise — the bar for modern pop music,” wrote Hampp. “Amping up on urban, dubstep-leaning R&B and scaling back on the often awkward sex jams that populated the second half of 2011’s “Talk That Talk,” “Unapologetic” is Rihanna’s most confident, emotionally resonant work since 2009’s “Rated R.”

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