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Rihanna - Talk Talk Talk

Rihanna, Talk Talk Talk

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

IF LOUD marked the sound of Rihanna at her best, Talk Talk Talk marks something of a backward step.

Put together with a firmer emphasis on dance, as evidenced by its lead single We Found Love, featuring Calvin Harris, this is less diverse than Loud and much less dark than Rated R.

Rihanna has firmly rediscovered her inner playfulness and sexes things up considerably with several R-rated lyrics. But while provocative (try listening to tracks like Watch N Learn and Cockiness (Love It) with your mother present!), it’s also slightly soulless… her least personal album to date perhaps.

That’s not to say there’s nothing to enjoy… Rihanna’s confident delivery is such that Talk Talk Talk boasts considerable energy, especially if all you’re seeking is an album to dance to.

But given the emotional power of some songs on Loud especially (including the Eminem featuring Love The Way You Lie (Part II) or even Cheers (Drink To That)), the scarcity of such tracks here is disappointing.

True, Jay-Z crops up early on for one of the album’s firm highlights (the title track Talk Talk Talk), thereby offering a keen mix of hip-hop attitude and R’n’B sass, while the aforementioned We Found Love is a real grower, despite being one of Rihanna’s most Ibiza-leaning offerings to date.

But there are very few tracks that stand out or look set to rate highly in career retrospectives… with even the odd slower number such as Farewell lacking a certain something.

It’s best instead to take the album on a more cursory level… to enjoy the guilty pleasure of it.

As such, You Da One opens proceedings in bright fashion, setting a vaguely Jamaican percussion to an upbeat tale of love (“I’m so happy you came into my life”) that also delivers a good workout of the singer’s distinct vocals.

We All Want Love, meanwhile, sets a strong back-beat and more empowering sentiments over one of the album’s catchiest choruses, Drunk On Love manages to successfully combine an urgent synth pulse befitting the Ibiza scene with more love-hungry lyrics, and Roc Me Out is a hard-hitting mix of urban synths, edgy beats and no-nonsense sass that Rihanna does best.

Elsewhere, though, there are some truly lame moments… Red Lipstick being one that represents a pretty tawdry trawl through more sexually explicit material (likewise Cockiness (Love It)) or Birthday Cake, a real mess of ugly synth-pop that fortunately only lasts just over a minute.

Overall, then, Talk Talk Talk is a mixed bag… good when it’s good, bad when it’s bad and a passable if underwhelming addition to the Rihanna story so far.

Download picks: Talk Talk Talk, You Da One, We All Want Love, Drunk On Love

Track listing:

  1. You Da One
  2. Where You Been
  3. We Found Love feat Calvin Harris
  4. Talk Talk Talk feat Jay-Z
  5. Cockiness (Love It)
  6. Birthday Cake
  7. We All Want Love
  8. Drunk On Love
  9. Roc Me Out
  10. Watch N’ Learn
  11. Farewell
  12. Red Lipstick
  13. Do Ya Thang
  14. Fool In Love