Courtesy of Roc Nation, LLC

After numerous delays and countless social media teases, Rihanna has returned with her 8th studio album, Anti. 

The album, as its title suggests, showcases a minimalistic, vulnerable side of the Bajan singer; the complete opposite of what fans and critics would expect.

The overall minimalistic style of the album is mostly prevalent in “Same Ol’ Mistakes”, which is a cover of Tame Impala’s “New Person, Same Ol’ Mistakes”.

The album is preceded by the songs “FourFiveSeconds”, “Bitch Better Have My Money”, and “American Oxygen”, none of which ended up making the final tracklisting. The official Drake-assisted lead single “Work” was premiered on Top 40/Rhythmic radio this past Wednesday, hours before the album’s official release on Tidal.

Of the album’s 13 tracks, “Work” is the song with the most mainstream potential. The album doesn’t consist of club bangers so much as it does emotional, down-tempo slow jams.

One of Anti‘s notable tracks is the Glass John and Natalia Kills-penned “Kiss it Better”, which includes the use of an electric guitar, giving the song a sexy, 80’s vibe.

The closest thing to a club banger on the album is the DJ Mustard-produced “Needed Me”, but even that song lyrically describes a semi-dysfunctional relationship.

Tracks like “Work” and “Consideration” contain the Bajan dancehall sounds that Rihanna first stepped on the scene with, the latter of which sets the theme for the whole album; love and innocence lost.

The standard edition of the album closes with “Close to You”, which is lyrically about a relationship fizzling out. It is reminiscent of “California King Bed”, however, this track is a lot more raw and gritty.

There were many big names originally linked to the project, including Kiezsa, Mike Will Made-It, Kanye West and Sia. I was personally very excited to hear how those collaborations would’ve turned out, however none of them made the final track listing. Also, I was a little bit disappointed that the final version of “Goodnight Gotham” was only 90 seconds long, and didn’t actually contain any vocals from Rihanna.

Overall, the album is her most personal record to date. Despite not having many radio-ready tracks, the album is listenable from start to finish, and shows that Rihanna is still the most unpredictable pop star on the planet.

Rating: 3.5/5

Download Recommendations: “Consideration (feat. SZA)”, “Work (feat. Drake)”, “Kiss It Better”, “Needed Me”, “Higher”, “Close to You”