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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Rihanna Raises the Bar and Raises Brows

    It was one of the most anticipated highlights for the 2009 American Music Awards. The buzz from reporters and raging fans awaited the arrival, the ‘come back’ performance of the rock star of music, media, and fashion: Rihanna.

    Rihanna, who was completely bounded in bands, like a mummy, performed back-to-back singles from her new upcoming album. The award special,which aired on Nov 22, two days prior to the release of Rihanna’s senior album, ‘Rated R,’ was the perfect power play to let the world know that ‘She’s back!’ Back from hiding, back from a damaging relationship, and back from the studio where she produced her most personal album.

    ‘Rated R,’ which should stand for ‘real, raw, and maybe a tad raunchy’ is an album which reflects Rihanna’s feelings on a love lost and a life gained after the widely publicized incident between her and her then-boyfriend, Chris Brown, and represented her strongest musical outlet and emotional therapy. The cover photo, as she looks up while covering an eye, demonstrates Rihanna’a willingness to expose herself and tell listeners her side of the story. With a triple dose of sex appeal and a few uncompromising positions, the album photos suggests that Rihanna is ready to exceed boundaries and the controversy that may come along with it.

    The album begins with the captivating intro ‘Mad House,’ inviting listeners to come in and prepare themselves for a musical journey of sadness, anger and revenge. Two words to describe the rest of the album: ‘dark and deep.’

    Rihanna reclaims her independence and standing through a game of love and in her first single ‘Russian Roulette’– ‘Calm yourself, he says to me/ If you play, you play for keeps/Take a gun, and count to three’–and takes control in ‘Hard’ featuring Young Jeezy–‘They can say whatever, I’ma do whatever/ No pain is forever/ Yup, you know this.’

    Compared to her previous albums, her Caribbean background, the Barbados, plays a new twist of Caribbean flavors while complimenting hard rock interludes in songs like ‘The Wait is Over’ and ‘Rude Boy.’

    Unlike the classic bubbly pop-princess that used the mindset of female producers and writers to create personal love ballads, Rihanna looked to the ‘the boys’ to get the point across. Although Rihanna had major creative control and co-wrote five of the 13 songs, her team of pop’s male major players included Ne-Yo, Justin Timberlake, The Dream, Tricky Stewart, and will.i.am to add the cutting edge to the love songs.

    Justin Timberlake, who produced ‘Cold Case Love,’ feature powerful punches about the abusive relationship, ‘What you did to me was a crime/Cold Case Love/ And I let you reach me one more time/ But that’s enough.’ Will.i.am, who produced ‘Photographs,’ made personal references to Rihanna’s past relationship and possibly the two major leaked scandalous photos of Rihanna, a few personal ones for Brown only and the unforgettable photo of Rihanna’s badly bruised face.’ Fire Bomb,’ a song produced by Brian Kennedy, who wrote the past massive hit ‘Disturbia,’ was also a hard ballad that entailed that Rihanna was far from a victim to love and abuse.

    This album has strayed away from the traditional, featuring meanings of love, heartbreak, and re-invention. Rihanna has used this album as her canvas to showcase her personal images of what happened in her past life, her present position and her plans for the future. ‘

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