Journalists unavoidably encounter moments in their careers where they are forced report about inexplicable tragedies. From the demolition caused by Hurricane Katrina to the shocking terrorist attacks of 9/11, we are required to help our societies to understand the carnage that plagues our world. Yet, today we are faced with a new disaster; a horrible development that has marred the state of popular culture; an event that will forever be remembered as ‘Talk That Talk’.
Presented as the sixth studio album from Rihanna in as many years, ‘Talk That Talk’ is one of the worst pieces of recorded music to be issued in 2011. In fact, it is a prime example of unadulterated, pornographic garbage.
Comprising nonsensical repetition and sexual references on almost every track, Rihanna has proven herself to be nothing more than a peddler of propaganda. Indeed, after claiming that she had ditched her high fashion garb and bright hair colours so that people would focus on her artistry and not classify her as a gimmick, Rihanna has utilised the most popular gimmick of all – selling sex.
Songs such as the dreadful ‘Watch N Learn’ and the album’s second single, ‘You Da One’, showcased Rihanna lazily chanting the the lyrics in an almost continuos loop. Shockingly, both tunes were composed by five writers, including Rihanna, yet none of them had the sense or the motivation to purchase a thesaurus so that listeners would not be subjected to the same words repeated over fifty times within three-minute periods.
However, the absurdity did not end with those tracks. On one of the most jarring songs on ‘Talk That Talk, the raunchy ‘Birthday Cake’, Rihanna basically recreated Big Sean’s current hit ‘Dance (A$$)’ over a clap-driven beat that sounded almost identical to his tune yet ended after only a minute. Still, perhaps ‘Birthday Cake’ was not so disruptive after all because the rest of the LP had very little cohesion or discernable flow. Really, in typical Rihanna fashion, it is just a collection of singles.
Undoubtedly, the most sexually charged record on ‘Talk That Talk’ was ‘Cockiness (Love It)’. Strangely, though, while this track perfectly exemplified the adult sound of the album with the opening lyrics “suck my cockiness, lick my persuasion,” its production was its most endearing quality.
When she wasn’t forcing us to think about her obviously busy sex life, however, Rihanna was actually trying to sing. The songs ‘Farewell’ and ‘Drunk on Love’ demonstrated that her vigorous vocal training sessions via Skype with her vocal coach did result in some improvement of her vocal ability.
On the other hand, while her voice had progressed enough so that it didn’t encourage the urge to uninstall iTunes, there were some songs that would have been performed better by other artists. For instance, ’We All Want Love’ could easily have been included on Jessie J’s ‘Who You Are’ album and sung with far greater prowess.
Finally, we had the song ‘Roc Me Out’. Although it was quite forgettable to say the least, it would be a glaring oversight if any reviewer of this album ignored the fact that Rihanna, Ester Dean, StarGate and Rob Swire shamelessly recycled ‘Rude Boy’ from ‘Rated R’ in a blatant attempt to score another airplay hit. That was musical cannibalism at it’s worst.
Ultimately, Rihanna has put forward yet another collection of singles with ‘Talk That Talk’. Rather than striving to add depth to her shallow catalogue of hits, she opted to push the boundaries of her panty line instead of the narrow limits of her artistry. Keep talking that talk while you can Rihanna because when your looks begin to fade nobody will listen.
Standout tracks: ‘Farewell’ and ‘Cockiness (Love It)’
Weakest track: ‘Watch N Learn’
Possible singles: ‘Talk That Talk (Ft. Jay-Z)’, ‘Where Have You Been’, ‘Roc Me Out’ and ‘Drunk on Love’
The Lava Lizard Rating: 2/5 Stars