Album Review: Rihanna's 'ANTI'

Album Review: Rihanna's 'ANTI'

We've waited a long time for #R8.
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If you're as big of a Rihanna fan as I am, you know that her newest album "ANTI" dropped after almost four years of waiting. Even with a few singles ("FourFiveSeconds," "B**ch Better Have My Money" and "American Oxygen"), which happen to not even be on the album, fans wanted more. It's no doubt that this is one of the most anticipated albums ever, and in my opinion, it did a pretty great job at living up to its expectations. I have listened to it over and over again since its release on January 28, and have put together a song-by-song review of Bad Gal RiRi's deluxe edition of "ANTI."

The album opens up with the Rasta-like sound of "Consideration" featuring R&B singer SZA and the line, "I came fluttering in from Neverland/ Time can never stop me, no/ I know you've tried to." In this song, Rihanna expresses her desire to be seen as more than just an entertainer. SZA's unique style of singing compliments Rihanna's voice on the harmonious parts. Personally, this is one of my favorites from the album. I have to give this song an 8/10, instead of a 10, since it isn't even three minutes long.

The album then slows down to transition into "James Joint." As it is an interlude, this song is very short, but makes for a nice transition into the album's next song. This song mixes one's desire for a true love with one's use of drugs. I give this one a 6/10; if there was more to it, maybe I'd give it a better score.

"Kiss It Better" starts off with a few drum beats, and then a strong electric guitar solo comes in. Rihanna sings lines like "What are you willing to do?" and "Why argue? You yell, but you take me back." This song is another one of my favorites, and I personally have been waiting for it since December 2014 when badgalriri herself posted a very short snippet of the song on her Instagram. This electric song has rock ballad written all over it and has a huge Talk That Talk sound. 9/10

The fourth song on the album was released as a single right before the entire album was dropped. "Work" features a verse from rapper Drake, and samples Jamaican Patois- i.e. "work" means "sex," "haffi" means "have to," and "ah go" means "going to."- throughout the song. The song is similar to the two's previous collaborations on Drake's "Take Care" and Rihanna's "What's My Name?" where two lovers narrate a story. If you see me on campus, I'm probably listening to this in my headphones. This one is definitely a bop. I want to be biased and give it an 10/10, but due to the fact that Rihanna doesn't say too much compared to Drake's verse due to the repetitive use of the word "work," I have to give it an 8/10.

The dark beats of "Desperado" follow the previous collaboration on this album. This song tells the story of being in love someone on the run, or a desperado. Rihanna sings the line, "If you want, we can be runaways/ Running from any site of love." The beat from this song is an alteration of the vocals from alternative-singer Banks' song "Waiting Game." The way Rihanna says the word "desperado" makes you want the song to never end. 7/10

The next track, "Woo," features Travis Scott, although he isn't actually listed as a feature in the song title. In this song, Rihanna has torn emotions about a past lover, using conflicting lines like, "I've been thinking 'bout you late at night/ I've been thinking only of you" and "I don't even really care about you no more." This song has a deeper message with a dirtier sound. 7/10

The DJ Mustard produced "Needed Me" is another one of my favorites off the album. The song is the perfect sample of a mid-tempo ballad. Rihanna sings raw lyrics like "You needed me/ To feel a little more, and give a little less/ Know you hate to confess/ But baby, ooo you needed me," over dark, flowing synths. In this song, Rihanna scolds her lover for catching feelings, claiming she is a "savage." Rihanna definitely deserves a 10/10 for this one for the amazing riffs and runs she showcases through the choruses.

"Yeah, I Said It" is another short, interlude-like song on the album. In 2 minutes and 13 seconds, Rihanna proves a short, sexy sound that makes us want more. "We don't need a title," seems to the general message behind this song. 7/10

The next song on the album is a cover of Tame Impala's "New Person, Same Old Mistakes" (her's is titled "Same Ol' Mistakes"). Even though it's only a cover, this song fits perfectly on the album. The mesmerizing, heavy instrumentals match perfectly with Rihanna's vocals where she sings lines like, "Feel like a brand new person/ But you make the same old mistakes" and "Well I don't care I'm in love/ Stop before it's too late." 9/10

"Never Ending" opens up in the complete opposite with an acoustic guitar and Rihanna's line, "Ghost in the mirror/ I knew your face once, but now it's unclear." The melody of this song is calming, and soothing, leaving a lighter note. The song ends with the line, "Why does it have to feel so strange/ To be in love again?" 9/10

"Love on the Brain" is quite possibly one of the most beautiful sounding songs on the album. When I first listened to it, I didn't believe it was even Rihanna because of the unique vocal talent I was listening to. The song's 1950s "doo-wop" can be compared to Amy Winehouse, and has a similar title to Chris Brown's "Heart Ain't a Brain". "Must be love on the brain/ That's got me feeling this way/ It beats me black and blue," is one of the subtle references to the physical assault she experienced a few years ago from Chris Brown. I don't think I will ever be over Rihanna's vocals in this song. 10/10

If you're as big of a member of Rihanna's "Navy" as I am, you have been waiting for the album's next track "Higher" ever since the singer drunkenly posted snippets of the song earlier in 2015. Rihanna stretches her vocals to sound raspier, and it works well for her, on lines like, "You take me higher, higher than I've ever been, babe." I want to give this song a 10 but unfortunately, can only give it a 6/10 due to how incredibly short it is (2 minutes and 1 second to be exact).

After that short track, we get yet another ballad, "Close To You." In this song, Rihanna sings about the difficulty and hard times of losing connection with a lover with lines like, "Like so close, if they hurt you, you wouldn't find out/ If you let me, I'd be there by now/ Close to you." The beautiful piano melody fits well with the deep lyrics and mesmerizing harmonies. This song reminds me a lot of her song "Stay" featuring Mikky Ekko from her seventh studio album Unapologetic. 8/10

The final interlude on the album, "Goodnight Gotham," samples Florence + The Machine's "Only If For a Night." Personally, this was really disappointing to me because not only has she been teasing this as a big song for a while now, but the album version doesn't feature any singing by Rihanna, but only Florence Welch. 4/10

"Pose" is the typical dirty Rihanna song we all expect at least one of on each album. The heavy instrumentals, produced by the same producer as "B**ch Better Have My Money," backup dirty slang and vocals like "Yaaaass b**tch" and "Take it off/ I wanna see you work it like oh my god." Don't get me wrong: I love a dirty, obscenity-ridden Rihanna just as much as the next Rihanna fan, but there's something about this one that isn't as good as the others. I think the instrumentals might be a bit too much at times; otherwise, it's a great song to get down and dance to. 6/10

ANTI closes with the album with the song "Sex With Me." In this song Rihanna wants us to know how incredibly amazing it is to be with her, and not someone else. "Sex with me is amazing, with her it'll feel alright." The song ends with a unique mix of vocals and instrumentals, and in my opinion, ending ANTI correctly. 9/10

"ANTI" Tracklist:

1. Consideration (feat. SZA)

2. James Joint

3. Kiss It Better

4. Work (feat. Drake)

5. Desperado

6. Woo

7. Needed Me

8. Yeah, I Said It

9. Same Ol' Mistakes

10. Never Ending

11. Love on the Brain

12. Higher

13. Close To You

(Deluxe Edition)

14. Goodnight Gotham

15. Pose

16. Sex With Me

Cover Image Credit: http://diaestudio.com/dia/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/rihanna-anti-tidal.jpg

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To the guy that shot my brother...

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To the guy that shot my brother,

On January 9, 2019 my families entire life changed with one phone call. The phone call that my little brother had been shot in the face, no other details. We didn't need any other details. The woman on the phone who called us in full panic told us where he was so we went, as soon as possible. I don't think it helped that not even 10 min prior I talked to Zach on the phone.. kind of irritated with him, and the ONE TIME I didn't say 'I love you' as we hung up. Could've been the last time we ever spoke.. I remember pulling up to the hospital thinking 'this can't be real' 'it's not our Zach' 'this is just a dream Sarah, WAKE UP' I'd close my eyes really tight just to open them, I was still in the hospital emergency parking lot. I could still hear the ambulance sirens coming. It was all real.

The day our life's changed was definitely a test of faith. A test of how strong we were, as a family. I sat in that waiting room ready to see the damage that has been done to my sweet baby brother. Because at that point we had no idea how lucky he got. That glimpse of seeing Zach will haunt me forever. How helpless I felt in that exact moment frequently wakes me up from these horrific dreams I've been having ever since that day. That is a moment burned into my me and families brain forever.

You always hear about these things in the movies or on the news, a house being shot up, someone shooting another innocent person, not to care if they died on your watch. But we found ourselves on the news.. We have been confined to the hospital since that day. Running on barely any sleep, taking shifts of sleep so we don't make ourselves sick taking care of Zach. Watching him suffer. Undergoing surgeries, to repair the damage you did.

Before I proceed let me tell you a little something about the man you shot.

Zachary Keith Wright. A blonde hair blue eyed boy. Who could potentially be the most annoying human on the planet (possibly coming from his sister). A man who loves his God first, loves his family second. Perfect by no means, but almost perfect to me. A 19 year old who was to graduate high school this month. After graduation he was prepping to leave for Marine boot camp in the summer.. being in the military has been Zach's dream since he could talk. Literally. Running around, playing war with underwear on our heads, and finger guns. Some would say we looked like natural born assassins.. growing up he has been a country boy. Let me tell ya country to the core. He loves this country like he loves his family. He believes in helping people, taking charge in what's right, and never leaving a brother behind. He's lived by that his whole life. Until now....

The day you shot him. The day not only did you change my brothers life, you changed his families life too. The day you almost ripped my brother out of this world... for what? A misunderstanding? Because you've let something take ahold of your life that you can't let go you're willing to kill someone innocent over? Luckily for him, his guardian angels were protecting him in your time of cowardice. There were 3 times that day he should've died, the time you shot him, the time you tried to shoot him again as he stared you directly in the face, (even tho he couldn't talk I know you could read his eyes, and he still intimidated you. That's why you tried to pull the trigger again) and the time he was running out of the house. But he lived. A man who was shot in the face, didn't lay there helpless, didn't scream in agony. That MAN walked to the neighbors to get help. Why? Because he's a MAN, and because he's on this earth for a reason.

It's gonna sound a little strange not only to you, but the audience who is reading this. I must say thank you. Even in this situation, this was the best outcome we could get. He gets to live. He will make a full recovery. He will graduate. And he will go off into the Marines. You united my family together. Closer than ever. Thank you. You tested our faith and brought us closer to our God. Thank you. Because of your moment of weakness, you showed us what prayer could do. Heal anything. Thank you. This was a bump in the road, and a helluva way to kick off our year of 2019. But here we are.. all laying in the hospital. I'm looking around as mom is sleeping in her recliner chair exhasted but still here, Zach his awake playing his xbox all hooked up to machines, fighting to heal and get better. And of course I'm writing this letter to you.

See you in trial,

From the girl whose brother you shot.

'Fight the good fight' - 1 Tim 6:12 🤟🏼💙

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