Thursday, January 28, 2016

Album Review: Rihanna - ANTI

Rihanna's 8th studio album ANTI has been infamously plagued by a number of setbacks and delays: the relative underperformance of the albums first three singles that in a strange turn of events didn't make the album they were supposed to promote (the #4 "FourFiveSeconds," #13 "Bitch Better Have My Money," and #78 "American Oxygen"), the approximate release date being pushed back month after month starting in May, and the often complete silence from team Rihanna. Finally, a year after the release of its MIA lead single, ANTI has reached the hands of an unsuspecting public.

The album is a notable departure from Rihanna's previous stylings (hence the "anti"), with the production being notably restrained, Rihanna's Caribbean accent freely flowing, and explicit, unrestrained drug references (notably to crack and of course, marijuana). There's no buoyant synths like in "We Found Love," slamming piano chords like "Diamonds," or even infectious hooks ala "Umbrella." The album is strikingly minimalist, and rarely steps out of its relaxed flow.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Album Review: Rachel Platten - Wildfire

"I miss my home / But there's a fire burning in my bones," horrifically cliche'd and creatively drained lyrics like this are just one of the horcruxes for an album plagued by lifeless and unidentifiable singer-songwriter pop.

Platten's songwriting style can be broken down into two parts: forced rhymes and disconnected imagery; the latter mystically leading people to the belief that Platten is somehow an original and half-decent lyricist. She shamelessly indulges in overdone lines and ideas: "I'm a lion, I'm a tiger / I'm a caged-bird, I'm on fire." Make no mistake, just because this 34-year-old writes her own songs doesn't mean she has a sliver of the maturity, wisdom and sensibility as any 16-year-old slam poet in the country.