Rihanna’s latest should be rated boring

By Kieran Layton


Rated R

Def Jam

Sounds like: Keri Hilson, Rihanna minus her talent

Grade:… Rihanna

Rated R

Def Jam

Sounds like: Keri Hilson, Rihanna minus her talent

Grade: C-

Apparently, Rihanna’s mind is still in “Disturbia.”

Unlike the time when that mindset led to deliciously catchy crop of pop-R&B, however, now it sounds disturbingly bad on her fourth album, Rated R.

The cover for the album indicates directly what will follow: gothic-laced tunes drowned out by too much makeup or, in this case, sloppy instrumentation.

It’s not a stretch to say the album has no memorable tracks.

The debut single, “Russian Roulette,” sounds simple and uninteresting, but the second single, “Hard,” fares slightly better with its upbeat rap swagger and Young Jeezy contribution.

But looking for other standouts proves to be a fruitless effort.

“Rude Boy” sounds like a rejected Sean Paul B-side, “Photographs” with Will.i.am seems to have beenrecorded underwater, and the jarring “G4L” is merely an unsuccessful attempt to harden Rihanna’s good-girl image.

“We drivin’ by with them headlights off / We know where you stay / Know what you did / We don’t play that sh*t / N*gga, we don’t play, no … ”

Referencing drive-bys and dropping racial slurs don’t make Rihanna edgy. They just make her awkward. Wasn’t this the same girl singing about standing under her umbrella two years ago?

Rihanna has experienced the tabloid gauntlet with the Chris Brown incident, but the listener wishes there were more stimulating material that came out of it.

“Rockstar 101” is as close as the album gets to “fun,” and “Te Amo” sounds like a midtempo ballad that could have been taken from an earlier album — and that’s a compliment.

At least Rihanna had the decency to let listeners know when the pain will end. The last song is called “The Last Song.”

Very astute, Rihanna. Too bad it is just as bad as everything else on the album.

Rihanna’s “Rockstar 101 (feat. Slash)”