Eb the Celeb attends Rihanna’s “Unapologetic” Listening. My take on the album
On Friday afternoon fans and media packed Jay-Z’s Manhattan 40/40 club for an exclusive listen to Rihanna’s new album Unapologetic. Fans were allowed into the venue by bringing donations for Sandy Relief. Media looked perplexed the first hour upon arriving since this was the first listening session I’ve been to where there wasn’t an open bar. Especially since they confiscated all electronic devices upon entry. No one knew what to do with their hands since they had no drink in it and couldn’t tweet the entire event LOL. Although they did have waitresses walking around with small samples of D’Ussi.
Either way I was excited to hear what Riri had in store for us this time around. The album starts and she is no where in sight. Fans were looking perplexed but still tried to enjoy the music.
You can definitely see her growth on this album. Vocally she takes chances, genre-wise she experiments. Her typical techno songs treading urban and emotional ballads but she even goes folk & more ratchet on this project. Not better then her last project but still solid. It starts off so strong and then tapers off towards the end to the point that many of the media just stopped paying attention. Check out my notes on each track below:
1. “Fresh Out the Runway” – Nice ease into the album. Rihanna makes it clear she is still the baddest. With heavy bass and lyrics like “I walk in the bitch like I own the hoe” you can’t argue with her.
3. “Numb” (featuring Eminem) – A really hard record where the beat pounds through your speakers. Em’s verse is a little weird at first. Almost chopped and screwed. Then he gets in the zone and murders like you expect him to.
4. “Pour It Up” – Definitely one of my favorites. Rihanna is overdue for doing a straight ratchet record. She wanted “Cockiness” to be her ratchet record but it only scratched the surface. This is truly her ratchet record and I love every second of it. Even has its moments where it sounds like Juicy J’s “Bandz.” I can even hear a remix to this record with him on it. Definitely going to be a favorite in the strip clubs. Make it happen!
5. “Loveeeeeee Song” (featuring Future) – This song is just terrible! Someone needs to let Future know that he cannot sing. CANNOT. Not that Riri is the best vocalist so adding him onto that is just ear bleeding music. I actually like the verses though. The melody is angelic and Rihanna glides through her harmonies. Then Future comes in whaling on the hook and messes everything up. He’s moaning in auto-tune and I couldn’t take it.
6. “Jump” – I was sleep when the record first started then the hook samples Ginuwine’s “Pony” and the song comes alive and you start to appreciate to smooth variation in tempos and vibe. It’s like a musical roller coaster.
7. “Right Now” – Her contribution to the EDM fans or what I like to call glowstick music. The David Guetta record isn’t cheezy though. Rihanna has a way of making EDM records that people that aren’t a fan of the music will still enjoy. Party verses and a soulful hook.
8. “What Now” – Probably my favorite record on the album. Rihanna pours her entire heart and soul into this hook. By the second time it came around again I was singing at the top of my lungs along with. It’s just so vulnerable and she takes chances vocally. It’s completely piano driven so you would think it would be smooth but it has these rugged undertones that I love. The melody and her over-enunciating the words give it a different sound and feel that make it something really special. Even her inflections are out of this world. Whoever A&R’d this song is a genius because the way she plays with her vocals throughout the entire song really shows her growth.
9. “Stay” (ft. Mikky Ekko) – Really smooth record that has a folk feel. It’s just her and a piano.
10. “Nobodies Business” (ft. Chris Brown) – Hands down the highlight of the album. Not because of personal reasons because its just damn good music. It’s a feel good song. The one you want playing when you and your boo feel like its me and you against the world. The soundtrack that you want playing while on an open highway with the top down.
11. “Love Without Tragedy” / “Mother Mary” – The entire time this record was playing all I could think about was Gotye “Somebody That I Used To Know.” It’s similar in sound and feel.
12. “Get It Over With” – A sophisticated approach to the YOLO life. Living in the moment, capturing the moment, and losing everything for that moment are some of the lyrics that stand out. Outside of the concept there isn’t anything special about this song.
13. “No Love Allowed” – To me it’s a bootleg “man down” initially. If you can get over that aspect of it still just seems like the token “island” feel song that she feels compelled to put on every album and isn’t cohesive with the overall direction and feel of the album.
14. “Lost in Paradise” – Boring techno
15. “Half of Me” (Bonus Track) – Super EMO record. I kept thinking where was Drake? It starts off slow and then builds to something that you think is going to take it to the next level and then it comes right back down. It almost felt like you were having sex and just about to cum and he cums first and you never get a chance to buss. Very disappointing.
Overall though it’s a solid project. There are a couple songs that I want on my ipod right now and don’t want to wait until Nov. 19th.
After the album ran through one time security heightened across the venue so we knew the pop princess was about to make her entrance. Just as gorgeous in person as she is on her instagram — which I stalk. Check out some BTS of the album below.