What’s in a font? In terms of music, they can conjure up several different meanings, from something stalwart (The Rolling Stones, Ramones) to the ephemeral and futuristic (Daft Punk), and finally to the fussy and over focus-grouped (Cher Lloyd). On Rihanna’s sixth album, she’s returning to the spiky ‘R’ that crowned the cover of 2009’s ‘Rated R’. That album was a Year Zero for her as she emerged from the pupa of robo-pop star to free-flapping ‘artiste’. It was the place in which personal crisis (her abuse at the hands of, and public break-up with, Chris Brown) drove her sound and image in the best, most creative ways possible. The futuristic, dubstep-shaded sounds on that album were mirrored by lyrics that layered meaning and allusions to create a cohesive piece of musical pop-art that pricked at your consciousness from several directions.

Album Review Rihanna - 'Talk That Talk'

And then there was ‘Rude Boy’. The biggest hit from an under-selling album, its fun bump’n’grind jerk-pop seemed to dictate where she would go next. So it was – last year’s ‘Loud’ marked a turning point and the lasciviousness was upped up a notch, but at the same time you felt the shutters coming down artistically. It also coincided with her ubiquity. Suddenly she was everywhere, like the cast of The Only Way Is Essex-and-Kim Kardashian ‘everywhere’. There she was, popping up on David Guetta’s album, getting Ofcom and Matt Cardle into a tizzy on The X Factor, trilling the chorus of ‘All Of The Lights’ on Kanye West’s ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’, organising Katy Perry’s Cirque du Soleil hen do, appearing on ‘Pink Friday’, having a ‘get orf my laaaahnd’ moment with an Irish farmer. She was even, in London, spotted on the bloody tube on the way to one of her own concerts at The O2.

Album Info

  • Release Date: November 21, 2011
  • Producer: Alex da Kid, Bangladesh, Chase & Status, Da Internz, Ester Dean, Calvin Harris, Dr. Luke, Hit-Boy, Priscilla Renea, Rihanna, No I.D., StarGate, Rob Swire, The-Dream
  • Label: Mercury/Def Jam
  • Fact: The video for ‘We Found Love’ was banned in France over scenes of ‘self-destructive’ behaviour