And while her music can be accused of having become a bit predictable (R&B, hip-hop, dance all blended into a very ear-friendly if rather profane pop mix), her songs have generally reflected the turbulence in her life. While stern critics won’t find anything path-breaking in Unapologetic, fans will love what the lady dishes out vocally This is staple Rihanna fare. Including the profanity — the first F word occurs within a minute of the slightly dull opening track Phresh out the runway. Right now will get your feet tapping.
And the lady shows she can sing when she joins hands and voices with Mikky Ekko in the sombre and solemn Stay (the highlight of the album), the classily drowsy Get it over with and the peppy but pensive Love without tragedy, whose beginning will remind people of the chords that inaugurated The Police’s Message in a Bottle.
For most of the album, Rihanna comes across as someone who is hurt but is trying to find her way back, but then comes the shocking Nobody’s business in which she is joined by Chris Brown. And the coochy-cooing (From your love is perfection to Let’s make out in this Lexus) actually will make those who stood by the lady — we were among them — wonder if there’s anything that money cannot overcome.
So much so that when Rihanna sings “What am I supposed to do with this heart” in the final track of the album Lost In Paradise, you are tempted to reply, “I don’t really know!” No, we are not going to let one song cloud our judgement of what is actually an album with some brilliant music in it, but for the first time since we started following the lady, we must confess that we are wondering how much of the attitude is just for show, or rather, show business.