At this moment, fans may disagree with me when I say Rihanna's fourth album "Rated R" was her magnum opus. Even if they believe the opposite, "Rated R" will always have a place in my heart because of its impact on my life. 2009 was indeed an interesting year for me. I was a sixth grader with anger management issues and poor eating habits like no tomorrow. I was already a fan of Rihanna, but when "Rated R" came to life that November, the entire album stuck to me for ten years.
Earlier that year, Rihanna and artist and then-boyfriend Chris Brown were the faces of an unfortunate domestic violence case. Her scheduled performance for the 51st Annual Grammy Awards, at that time, was canceled prior to their alleged altercation. Photos of Rihanna, brutally beaten, were leaked online.
Her return to music following her more upbeat, mainstream release "Good Girl Gone Bad" was anticipated that year. On November 20, 2009, her album "Rated R" introduced a dark, aggressive side of Rihanna. The album has been considered by critics as her most heartfelt album yet. To this day, I endorse this opinion.
It's safe to say that this album helped me a lot with anxiety and depression. In school, I faced a lot of bullying and issues with inferiority, to the point of keeping to myself, refusing to go to school and more. Also, it became frustrating at home living with a dysfunctional family. I moved to a different house and also faced anxiety regarding my stepfather, who had gone to Iraq during the time for nearly 10 months.
I went to the barbershop one afternoon, and I heard a familiar voice on the radio. It sounded different, dark and eerie.
"And you can see my heart beating, you can see it through my chest," Rihanna sang. Who would have thought an eleven-year-old would get goosebumps from a song so intense as "Russian Roulette?" In fact, I didn't even know what the hell "Russian Roulette" meant until research.
I remember being so excited to hear a new Rihanna song since "Take a Bow." It was refreshing to hear her amid the controversy in the media. Weeks later, I saw the cover art to her album "Rated R" on the internet in school (yes, I barely did anything during computer class).
I begged my mother to buy me the album. I wasn't expecting much from it because I just wanted to hear another good Rihanna album. The introduction of the album started off with a hard-hitting dubstep beat, layered with Rihanna's eerie harmonies. Even with headphones, it's like she was persuading me.
"Come on, come on, come on in...."
The album includes many of my favorite tracks, such as "Hard" and "Rockstar 101" which made me feel like a badass even when I didn't feel so badass. Then there were songs like "Fire Bomb" that made me feel vengeful and bitter, songs like "Photographs" and "Cold Case Love" that made me feel sad and melancholic. Overall, "Rated R" was nothing but a rollercoaster of deep, dark emotions that I harbored as a kid. I wasn't as happy with my childhood or growing up as a teenager.
"Rated R" was the best album of 2009 for me. It helped me through hardships, and honestly, I don't think anyone appreciates the album as I do. Sure, I love "Loud," "ANTI," and "Good Girl Gone Bad" just the same, but "Rated R" will be the main thing I'll bring up when it comes to Rihanna.
That Rihanna reign just won't let up.
If you never heard the album, check it out below!