As Rihanna prepares to wow at the Brit Awards, editorial assistant Steph King and deputy picture editor Jamie Spence give their verdict on her new album, ANTI...
Rihanna’s shock release of ‘Work’ feat. Drake had fans swooning when it was released earlier this year, and the video is no different. RiRi dropped not one, but TWO videos to the track, starring her and Drake get pretty close for 'friends'. Watch it below -
This debut track from ANTI, her eighth studio album, marks the beginning of the Rihanna comeback, four years after Unapologetic dominated the music charts. ANTI is still filling headphones and office hallways around the world, and is only set to increase with Rihanna's upcoming world tour, which starts on February 26.
InStyle's editorial assistant Steph and deputy picture editor Jamie reviewed the album. Does it live up to the hype? Was it worth the wait? Here's what they thought...
1. Consideration feat. SZA
Steph says: A mellow, slightly dancehall-y slow-burner that harks back to RiRi’s Barbadian roots. The silky-smooth sound of fellow chanteuse SZA is a lovely complement to Rihanna’s husky voice.
Where to play it: As coffee shop background music, or at work.
2. James Joint
Steph says: Short ‘n’ sweet, this one is super mellow and v.old school RnB-ish. It kind of reminds me of a few tracks on Xtina’s Stripped album (remember that one?), where it’s all a little sensual.
Where to play it: When you’re with your boo.
3. Kiss It Better
Steph says: This one’s from the Rihanna who loves her some electric guitar. A melodic relative of her earlier tracks, ‘Russian Roulette’ and ‘Shut Up And Drive’, the fairly chilled tempo won’t have you immediately #obsessed, but you’ll find yourself humming it a few hours later.
Where to play it: The strong back beat makes it a perfect strolling song. Listen while taking your time walking home.
4. Work feat. Drake
Steph says: I. DIE. REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT. PRAISE QUEEN RIRI. This is irrefutably Rihanna’s BBHMM follow-up, in that it’s pretty much the only song you’ll want to listen to for the next month until the clubz play it way too much and the radio strips it of all of its wonder. Oh, and Drake. Like you needed another reason to adore it.
Where to play it: ALL DAY, ERR’DAY. It is dream listening wherever/whatever you’re doing.
Steph says: Although the opening bars are a little reminiscent of Banks’ ‘Beggin For Thread’ and the Spice Girls’ ‘2 Become 1’ outro, ‘Desperado’ is a gritty, girl-goin’-places tune.
Where to play it: When you’re on a mission. When you’re on a mother-freaking mission and nothing is going to stop you.
Steph says: You might think this song’s going to be a no-think party banger. Well, you’d be wrong. And disappointed. Because ‘Woo’ is still yet to woo me. It does redeem itself somewhat with the Kanye-like autotune threaded throughout, but that’s about it.
Where to play it: I wouldn’t.
7. Needed Me
Steph says: ‘Ugh. She’s still on this super slow tune bandwagon. Get off already.’ ...Is what I thought. A friendly reminder, Rihanna: quality not quantity.
Where to play it: *Skip* Sad face.
8. Yeah, I Said It
Jamie says: Rihanna takes it slow on ‘Yeah, I Said It’. It’s full on 90s stripped-back RnB vibes here with minimalist piano underlying the vocals. This is RiRi at her most seductive; she breathes over the chilled track.
Where to play it: Post Valentine's Day date, on the way to the bedroom...
9. Same Ol’ Mistakes
Jamie says: It may be the album's longest song at almost seven minutes, but it’s worth sticking with it. Rihanna goes down the cover route here, taking on Tame Impala's ‘New Person, Same Old Mistakes’, where the airy vocals drift over a pumped-up baseline and pulsing synthesisers. The one flaw is that RiRi’s slightly drowned out, but it’s still a cracker.
Where to play it: On the bus, especially in a traffic jam.
10. Never Ending
Jamie says: Acoustic ballad vibes. This is the stripped back Rihanna we fell in love with in ‘FourFiveSeconds’. It's rare to see her soft, sensitive side but ‘Never Ending’ reminds us that she can hold her own with emotional ballads.
Where to play it: At the end of a dreamy summer day.
11. Love On The Brain
Jamie says: Another ballad, RiRi goes down a 50's doowop road. Damn Riri is getting experimental?! She's come along way from Pon De Replay (still a tune). Refusing to be placed in a set box Riri goes to work with dramatic vocal acrobatics bouncing between high notes and her trademark growl.
Where to play it: With boo, this is v. V Day-ready.
Jamie says: RiRi soars on this and really pushes herself. Surrounded by beautiful violins she sings of love and booze. This is ultimate drunk dialling but, y’know, not embarrassing and filled with hangover regret.
Where to play it: When you've had that last glass (bottle) of wine.
13. Close To You
Jamie says: Returning to piano ballad ‘Stay’ territory, Rihanna shows off her vulnerable side with a song of distant love. Emotional and introspective, she rounds off her album that jumps all over the place with a touching goodbye.
Where to play it: This has got rainy Sunday written all over it. Maybe don't listen post break-up...