‘Anti’ exudes maturity

By Alexis Malapitan

Singer Rihanna’s eighth studio album, “Anti,” exposes a mature and vulnerable RiRi.

Fans were in for quite the treat as RiRi teased fans with countless Instagram photos and videos leading up to the album’s release Thursday on Tidal. The album is certified platinum as of Friday, according to Billboard.

“Anti”, which was a “gift to [her] navy,” according to the singer’s official Twitter, has 13 songs and includes collaborations with Drake, SZA, Kanye West and Paul McCartney. Rihanna introduces the album to fans and listeners with “Work”, the album’s debut single featuring Drake. The pair, who has worked together on songs like “What’s My Name” in 2010 and “Take Care” in 2011, make for a happy reunion by teaming up again this year.

The album’s single premiere did not disappoint. Although it was a little different compared to her previous songs like “Stay” and “Diamonds” from her Unapologetic album, I see this as Rihanna’s way of experimenting with new sounds. “Work” featuring Drake has a chill Caribbean vibe to it. The song sounds like something you would dance to with your friends at a club. While the repetitiveness of the word “work” can be admittedly annoying at times, Drake’s verse evens out the choppiness. His voice is a reminder that him and RiRi should continue working on songs together in the near future.

“Consideration” featuring SZA is the first track on the album. It is a beautiful introduction to the album because Rihanna makes her sharp accent prominent throughout the song. Similarly, SZA puts her own twist to the song with her jazz-like vocals. The pair vibe off of one another and form beautiful harmonies accompanied by breaking hip-hop beats. Both singers sing with praiseworthy passion.

The second track, “James Joint,” takes a gentler approach with its soulful jazz-like sounds and Rihanna’s tranquil vocals. The unique electric-sounding pianos add to the peacefulness of the song and showcase Rihanna in her most vulnerable state as she sings about her lover and smoking weed:

“I’d rather be breaking things. Cause we can’t see. We’re too busy kissing. Just making scenes.”

Rihanna is so explicitly descriptive that I could picture the scene in my head while listening to it. I like this song because fans get a look into Rihanna’s ideal fantasy with her lover.

“Desperado”, the fifth track on the album, is one of RiRi’s most honest songs because it focuses on her voice as a whole without the Auto-Tune and electric instruments. Here, Rihanna almost treats this song as a ballad. I like this song especially because I think “desperado” – meaning a desperate or reckless person; a criminal – is the theme of RiRi’s eighth album. Rihanna is known for her bold fashion statements, thinking outside of the box, being a bad girl and releasing hit after hit. I applaud her for having enough confidence to accept it.

I still remember the first time I heard “Pon De Replay” back in 2006, the song was catchy and fun to dance to. Eleven years later I never pictured the same artist to be where she is today. Rihanna has definitely flourished into a mature artist who isn’t afraid to be bold and express herself. I think “Anti” is her best album to date because the hard work she put into this album is finally paying off; it sounds like she got extremely personal with this record, as listeners will get to see a softer side of the singer-songwriter.