Rihanna doesn’t plan on going anywhere. With her LOUD album still sitting on the charts, the pop princess extends her reign with her sixth album in six years Talk That Talk, available now. Today’s biggest hitmakers including Dr. Luke, Bangladesh, Stargate, The-Dream, Ester Dean, Alex Da Kid, and No I.D. deliver their best on RiRi’s raunchiest record yet. Did she satisfy critics with tracks like the salacious “Cockiness (Love It)” and her chart-topping single “We Found Love”? Find out below.
The New York Times: Talk That Talk, her sixth album, is maybe the first to suggest the place that’s been hiding in plain sight all along, placing Rihanna squarely at the center of the pop genre best suited for a singer of her fundamental evanescence: dance music, which conveniently is the mode du jour of contemporary R&B and pop.
USA Today: But probably the most potent ingredient in the mix is the Barbadian singer’s charisma. With her knowing naughtiness, she keeps the constant innuendos from becoming tiresome. They seem to come with a wink and a smile. 3/4
Rolling Stone: Rihanna’s sixth album is her tightest, most assured yet—a relentlessly catchy and danceable pop album, with first-rate contributions from top songwriter-producers. It’s also Rihanna’s smuttiest record by far. 3.5/5
Entertainment Weekly: It’s a relief to find that on her blissed-out sixth album, Talk That Talk, she’s stopped trying to play it so tough. … She’s still got two token I-like-it-rough tracks—”Birthday Cake” and “Cockiness (Love It)”—but they’re just filler on an album that’s all about dragging you out of the bedroom and onto the dance floor. B+
Los Angeles Times: Even the slower songs feature double-snare riddims that suggest energy, even when paced down; overall, the bass is heavier, the sounds are nastier, and by the second half of the record, Rihanna’s intentions are decidedly, unapologetically …. hornier. Call it Technotronic on steroids, Lady Gaga on Viagra, Millie Jackson on ecstasy: These are pumped-up hits aimed at the pelvic region. 2/4
Chicago Tribune: A couple of tracks show the kind of progression and depth that typified Rated R: the electro-acoustic, No I.D.-produced anthem “We All Want Love” and “Drunk on Love,” in which Rihanna lets a little vulnerability creep in over a haunting break beat from British minimalists the XX. Otherwise, Talk That Talk sounds like a rush job designed to keep Rihanna rolling through the holidays. 2/4
The Boston Globe: We turn to Rihanna for kicks, sure, but also, thanks to a voice whose limitations give her a supple vulnerability, for a tinge of bittersweet pain. Talk That Talk is at its best when it’s working that angle, as on chart-topping advance single “We Found Love.”
Rap-Up’s Favorite Tracks: “We Found Love,” “Talk That Talk,” “We All Want Love,” “Watch N’ Learn”