Review Roundup: Rihanna – ‘Rated R’

Rated R

The wait is really ova. Rihanna’s fourth album in five years Rated R arrives today. What kind of rating did it receive from critics? Find out below.

Entertainment Weekly: A genuine moment of vulnerability plays stunningly on the meticulously layered “Cold Case Love,” penned by Justin Timberlake. Still, Rated R rarely delivers Top 40 fodder. Instead, it’s a raw, often unsettling portrait of an artist who is, she insists, no longer a Girl at all. B

USA Today: “Hard” is a punch in the mouth to her doubters, while “Stupid in Love” declares “the dunce cap is off.” “Wait Your Turn” brashly puts rivals in check, and “Rude Boy” maintains her dance-floor allure. But probably the most telling statement of who Rihanna is these days is the Slash-propelled “Rockstar 101,” which revels in her status as a ubiquitous celebrity. 3 out of 4

The New York Times: In the multimedia whirlwind of a 21st-century pop career, Rihanna simply couldn’t have made an album of lovey-dovey ballads or simple dance songs. Rated R does what divas do: leverage personal troubles into music. And with it, Rihanna never lets her sorrows overwhelm her musical craftsmanship or the determination behind it.

The Boston Globe: Rated R is an interesting snapshot of several current events, including Rihanna’s evolution as a performer and the confluence of tabloid culture and pop art. But the true measure of music released amid a cloud of controversy is how well it stands on its own once the skies clear. For now Rated R is rated a B-minus.

The Washington Post: When the lighter fare arrives halfway through this downcast track list, it hardly registers. The crystalline bounce of “Rude Boy” and the playful zip of “Photographs” are buoyant, but neither can touch the club-happy froth that made Rihanna famous. She seems destined to return to that glitter-dusted dance floor before too long. For now, she’s processing publicly. Consider Rated R a misstep on the road to recovery.

Chicago Tribune: But the album is most haunting when she allows vulnerability to peer through the tougher exterior. She looks back at the wreckage in “Photographs” and “Cold Case Love,” over appropriately desolate musical settings. Even more devastating is “Stupid in Love,” as rueful as a pop song can get. 3.5 out of 4

Chicago Sun-Times: Rated R is a much better effort than many might have expected from Rihanna, and one that makes this listener eager to hear how much more she may grow in the years to come. 3 out of 4

Rap-Up’s Favorite Tracks: “Wait Your Turn,” “Hard,” “Rude Boy,” “Cold Case Love”

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  1. catalinadinu


    yaya Reply:

    @catalinadinu, true

  2. bibi

    lmao they are paying blogs now to get her sales up smh.

  3. lol

    This than gonna flops hard!
    TALENT Never die!

    Cameo Reply:

    @lol, Both GaGa and Rihanna have amazing albums. This is not going to flop. Talent does win yes, but not when both artists are extremely talented. Your statement just makes you seem ignorant about music, they are completely different artists.

    Lol Reply:

    are you kidding?
    Rihanna is beautiful but talentless she better off modeling cause her music carreer is ova since we all know that next week she will be number 3 or with 4 with 80 k…this is what I call a flop

  4. bajan

    nice reviews, on the AMA, Jitters, i say but great…. I love ri ri

  5. Giselle

    Pretty good reviews. I’ve already purchased it on iTunes and I already love it!

  6. no

    photographs is beautiful!!
    hard & wait your turn were already pretty good
    cold case love is great
    and te amo is really really lovely

  7. dan

    its a great album, really great, but i dont think it will be a big success for her…which i feel sorry for

    but people want those dance tracks from her…
    she sould’ve released another first single…like “hard” or “rude boy”…then maybe stupid in love or photographs, so that the album would get better sales

    i love russian roulette, but i dont think its a good single choice

    but great album, love it

    10 is ciaras Reply:

    @dan, the label wanted to release “Hard” first folllowed by “Wait Your Turn”, but Rihanna wanted “Russian Roulette. They still wanted to release them, so “Hard” is second US and “Wait Your Turn” is second UK and Europe

    dan Reply:

    @10 is ciaras, so she destroyed it by herself?

  8. WISE 1

    even if the review says it’s a 5 out of 4 , i will never buy this bitch album

    Cameo Reply:

    @WISE 1, Your just ignorant and have bad taste in music.

  9. jacq

    as if we asked the one above this comment whether or not they were buyin’ the album…smh, so lame

    BUT ON A BETTER NOTE…got the album & it was wayyyy better than I expected…”Fire Bomb” is the shitttt!

  10. dr


    jacq Reply:

    the same for meeee!


    No comment.

  12. yes

    team gaga !!! support talent

  13. Joyams

    I love the album, and i don’t get why people reproach her to not doing an album of dance floor hits like Don’t stop the music or Umbrella. It’s her better album until now, and moreover she’s not in mood to do hits maybe.

  14. Shawna

    Not bad for the $3.99 I paid on Amazon. I give it a solid B+. You can not hate her for what you do not know. I appreciate her raw emotions on this album, and I would not have wanted the same thing from the last album:-)

  15. papi

    lmao defjame is a hot mess selling that girl album foro 3 dollars and it still flopping

  16. ukLovesCbreezy

    no way am i buying her album lol i’ll download her shit 4 freeee, she aint worth my £££

  17. Ghetto Fab

    Album is dope This is a must in anybody’s collection. Rihanna delivers BIG TIME

  18. whateva

    lol why she gotta have her hand on her eye like chris beatherdown just hit her

  19. GeeMan

    I must say for me the album is average at best.

  20. Cameo

    This album is fantastic! I am so amazed with it. All the songs are deep and beautiful. Im glad she is evolving as an artist and not sticking to the same thing. This gives people a different edge to listen to! Amazing my personal review is an A! :)

  21. MG

    everyone you can get the mp3 version for .99 cents. amazon is having a special 3.00 mp3 credit. so 3.99-3.00=.99.

    i bet she still won’t be #1

  22. Lourdes Soraire


  23. Lourdes Soraire


  24. Jamie

    I love the album, and I dont like Rihanna, but she is so emotional on the album I cant help but love it. IMO Chris should of beat her a LONG time ago.

  25. crunkpoet

    love it!

  26. ryden

    this is a great album! love her!

  27. 112

    i hope she flops bad shes anoying and the album is garbage

  28. 100% Nikehead

    G4L and Rudeboy have to be singles both incredible tracks chase and status did an incredible job on the production. Mad House is one of the best album introductions ive probobly ever heard on an album and im just keeping it 100. I was so highly suprised of how good this album is. Highlight tracks: Stupid in Love, G4L, RudeBoy, Cold Case Love, Rockstar 101.

  29. jr

    I bought the album & to be honest I was thinking it was gonna be a complete mess. Well I was wrong & she is freakin amazing on all of the songs. There are some songs that catches ur ear like wat the hell but she does her thing on this album.

  30. Cameron

    Ok to all you haters….SCREW OFF!!!! This album is amazing…definitely not the ususual Rihanna, but who wants the same shit over and over again?!?!? This is a twist, something new and not what most people would have expected from Rihanna. Appreciate the new direction she is taking, a step some artists are afraid to take because it might ruin their reputation. This album is fierce and Rihanna is proving she is bad ass…I am loving G4L the most right now….cause you know “any motherfucker wanna disrespect” you are in for a fight because I think this will be a very successful album! Gaga is amazing too and it will be a feirce competition but it will be a good one because you have two extremely talented female artists!

  31. PooHsan Mnl

    I like “fire bomb” the music and the song she fixed with it!
    The wait is ova is really killing..

  32. emil

    album is floppin, number 45 on amazon and 3.99 mp3…lol.

  33. dale23


    1. MAD HOUSE: Slightly corny, but the narrator gives me a “Thriller” 2.0…Good enough of an introduction to this particular album though.

    2. WAIT YOUR TURN: Probably the song with the most swagger on the album (next to “Hard” & “Rockstar 101″), from that addictive beat to the ’sports-and-love’ metaphors brilliantly sang in her native tongue. Only thing more entertaining than the verses is the bright & sunny hook.

    3. HARD: The album so far flows perfectly from tracks 1 to 3. Definitely a club banger, and Jeezy adds that much more strength to the song, but I just don’t think anyone falls for this “I’m a thug/I’m so hard/I’m a G” Rihanna, and it also feels like it was kinda rushed toward the end.

    4. STUPID IN LOVE: The concept flows with the theme of the album & it has that throwback ‘Ne-Yo/Rihanna’ stamp on it, but i just can’t get over how much the “pop” sound and vibe of this song just didn’t fit in this particular spot on the album. Right after “Hard” and before “Rockstar 101″? That threw me off a little. She went from “Disturbia” to “Hate That I Love You” to “Breakin Dishes” lol

    5. ROCKSTAR 101: Another strong beat and cocky attitude via Tricky & The-Dream. She pretty much let yall know what the deal is and who she like we don’t already know lol.

    6. RUSSIAN ROULETTE: That “James Bond” tweak in the production during the first & second verses of the song (during the lyrics “If u play, you play for keeps” and “but then i get a scary thought”) seems like something so small, yet something so huge that its what kept me listening in the first place. The only thing is, the verses are more significant and interesting than the chorus itself.

    7. FIRE BOMB: Another “strong-willed” Rihanna at it again, and the production gives you the pop/rock of the GGGB Rihanna with a little more anger. Unlike its predecessor, the hook is the song’s shining moment.

    8. RUDE BOY: Hot beat riden by an aggressive & more “sexually vocal” Rihanna with the help of songwriter Esther Dean, who u could easily imagine her singing this herself.

    9. PHOTOGRAPHS: This one goes more into the direction of the pop songs that Rihanna is famous for, but it doesn’t quite have that chart-topper element to it. The song has concept and a repetitive, catchy hook, but it sounds like a song The Black Eyed Peas left off their last album.

    10. G4L: I see this one as the new “Ace Boonkoon/BFF/Ride or Die” theme song of the year for homegirls all around the world lol. And although Rihanna has once again failed at trying to convince the world how “hard” she is, this song is on point from the beat to the “we gon’ get that nigga back” mentality that i’m sure all women can relate to! lol

    11. TE AMO: If international attention or another dance-track offering was the M.O. behind keeping this song, then okay. But it really has nothing to do with anything. The girl is just singing that she doesn’t go that way, over a beat that sounds like a remix to Ne-Yo’s “Miss Independent”.

    12. COLD CASE LOVE: Now with this one, I was left at a loss for words, but not in the best way. As soon as the track began, and the “808’s & Heartbreak” feel came into play, It was already a winner. Justin Timberlake once again nails it on the songwriting tip. But my only itch was the fact that the production (in the first half) & concept was gloomy and cold, and while more elements were added to the beat, it should’ve stayed gloomy and cold throughout. Instead, it sounded like Kanye’s “Say You Will” with a huge kick in the a%s by Timbaland—the end caught me off guard and it felt like too much. Although this was a great song for Rihanna, less would’ve been more in this case.

    13: THE LAST SONG: Once again, the concept was delivered, but the song seemed to drag. Like Rihanna was standing in the booth singing with her elbow on the stand & holding her head up with her hand lol. That’s it.

    So with all the hilariously unnesessary profanity & gun-toting bad bit&h behavior, of course, like Brian said, there’s really no question about where all this anger came from…but it kinda leaves you wondering, is this a girl who’s finally over the pain of being left bruised and beaten, or is this just an image projection of what a girl who’s finally over the pain is supposed to look like? It is clear though, that the album wasn’t so much mechanically focused on becoming a hit-single factory, as it was about you finally getting access to Rihanna’s (or her writers’) diary. With that said, i give the album 3.9 out of 5 stars.

  34. yaya

    2 WORDS ‘RUDE BOY’…give it to me baby like boom boom nana na na

  35. Bradley

    So… I went to the store to purchase “The Fame Monster” and was surprised to see “Rated R”. I had no idea that Rihanna’s newest CD had come out. Well, considering the fact that I’ve always been a Rihanna fan, I decided to go ahead and pick it up too. I am SOOOO glad I did. While, I’m really enjoying Gaga’s CD, I am madly in love with Rihanna’s. Is it packed with Top 40 hits like GGGB? No, as a matter of fact, I can’t really see any of the songs being giant hits. However, this CD is so much more than that. It’s real, it’s dark, and it’s fantastic. Viva la Rihanna.

  36. RiRi.Rated.R

    i love every single song from the album!!1

  37. RatedR

    when you look back at good girl gone bad u’ll see that it debuted at #2 and lady gaga is always relasing new matieral so it wouldn’t be a surprise to me if her new re release was #1 on billboard top 200 but it feels to me that rated r needed more promotion and if hard was released as the first single it would have went somewhere on the top 5 of the billboard hot 100 | but overral this album is great 4.5 out of 5

  38. bodacious

    i am glad that she took the direction that she took, we have got a whole lot of bump and grind music and that bubble gum music and this peice of work is good and it is totally different from the same old same old. g/g/g/b was a hit maker and i feel that in time this album will garner a lot more singles and i hope that she makes videos to all of the singles .

  39. rihannito

    rihanna is the best full stop btw u forgot digital spy reviuew they gave rihanna 5 out of 5

  40. tp

    Rude Boy is an awesome and edgy song, can’t stop listening to it. awesome awesome awesome

  41. HUGE

    Majority isn’t always right,many people i came across told me RiRi’s album suck. I was like what the f*** lemme try it out,i wanna hear what r these haters talkin about,when i got the album at 1st i wasnt feeling but from the 3rd track onwards i knew i made a good choice by deviatin’ from what people said suck…PEOPLE ALWAYS WANA HEAR FROM OTHERS HOW THE CD IS DOING,ALL I CAN SAY IS GO OUT N GET IT URSLF N U’L B SURPRISED,DNT CRITICISE WAT U HVNT HEARD

  42. 4evahRihanna

    I don’t know about anyone else but I see this as Rihanna’s best work yet. Good girl gone bad was good but it doesn’t compare to Rated R. This album is so diverse and she is less of a vulnerable girl and more of and empowered woman. She experiments with rock sounds such as fire bomb and last song which are my favorite songs and it suits her voice she should do more of that. The Caribbean sounds like rude boy and te amo she needs more of because being a Caribbean person she inspires me and I would love to hear more of. And the r&b sounds from the songs Russian Roulette and cold case love which she handles very well. As far as performance of the almbum it’s already platinum after only being released in November so that’s an impressive feat. And I’m glad that people aren’t seeing her as another Beyoncé or Alicia keys when it comes to this album. But for those who don’t know about Rihanna even if you haven’t heard umbrella you should give this album a chance because it definitely shows artistic progression and empowerment.