Album Review: Rihanna's 'ANTI'

Album Review: Rihanna's 'ANTI'

We've waited a long time for #R8.

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

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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The Burning of Notre Dame

As the world looked on in horror, the 800-year-old cathedral threatened to burn to the ground, but I felt a different sort of fire igniting.


It's unlikely that this is the first article you've ready about the burning of France's Notre Dame Cathedral. It's a national landmark that has stood, in some form, for 800 years and we, as a world, were forced to watch it burn for nearly a day and a night. It was devastating to a multitude of people, not only the French nation.

I was watching a live stream of the cathedral's burning, stuck between horror and disbelief, when another feeling entirely began to creep over me. I read the headlines sprawled across the top of the screen, "Notre Dame Burns", "Gothic Structure Nearly Lost", "Will They Rebuild?" and started to wonder where we place our value in everyday life. I understand and appreciate the fact that Notre Dame is a treasure from a different time entirely, it holds more history than the whole of younger lands like the United States and Canada combined, but still, doubt circled in my heart and mind.

After the spouting flames had died to their last embers, a torrent of posts began to flood multimedia platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and everything in-between. People began to communicate their relief that the inner sanctuary was unharmed, that the fire hadn't damaged the twin towers, etc. They touted that God had spared dear Notre Dame in her darkest hour. I disagreed, but not for the reasons you might think.

We, as a culture, as a world, place too high a value on historical religious items whilst we shun the Power to which we owe their creation. The historical value of a place like Notre Dame is unmistakable, I pray that the French government will make every effort in her restoration so future generations can understand her place in history. But...I pray, more so, that the tragedy of the burning of Notre Dame serves a higher purpose; to bring those who have fallen away from Christ back from the brink.

We need to understand the value of our religious history, but not allow it to control us. Some might say the burning of Notre Dame was the conflagration of a dying era. Maybe it was. Maybe it wasn't. I think God used the pillars of fire that emerged from the cathedral's center as a beacon to bring our eyes back to him. Disasters unite nation to nation, people to people, and He wants us to unite in our adoration of Him.

I'm amused when people describe Christ as a softy, a push-over, a weakling. Because I know better. The flames that wreathed Notre Dame were a testament to His strength. Through them, He was shouting, "Come back to me! I am here! Forsake your sinful ways and find redemption in Me!"

I think John the Baptist had the right of it in Luke 3:16, "...I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."

Christ is the fire.

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