Rihanna is a born again pop star and this album is her celebrating that evolution.
When I first listened to this album, my initial reaction was,"So we waited forever for Rihanna to essentially drop a basic ass mixtape? Ugh." I didn't get the vision. I didn't initially see her intentions with this album. It was more than just an album of new Rihanna music that is suppose to top the charts and be played on the radio non stop.
Furthermore on my first listen, I felt like the album lacked the energy that we typically get from Riri. Like you get stadium size energy from some of her songs. Even if its a ballad. And because of that, a lot of the songs on the album felt the same to me. They felt lazy which translates to mediocrity to me. So like I said before, this was just a basic ass mixtape to me that we had to wait like two yrs for.
50+ listens later, the album started to grow on me. As the album grew on me I started to understand the vision of the body of work and how intentional Rihanna (and her team of course) were with the execution of the music and the visual components to this album. From the artwork incorporating a photo of Rihanna as a child and the custom poems in Braille in the booklet of the physical copies (are there physical copies out yet?) to the entire Samsung driven site (antidiary.com) where like every week, a new interactive room of Rihanna's world would open. By the way, not only was that a big deal as far as marketing goes-it was just simply creative and dope as hell.
At this stage in her career, this is the perfect time for her to change the course of her music and to step away from the path the industry has made her take for so long now. This album goes against everything we know and expect from Rihanna. And on the other hand, it's an introduction to how Rihanna truly sees herself as an artist and entertainer.
And I could rant about the rollout of this album and Tidal-but at the end of the day, even for a marketing professional as myself, the body of work is what truly matters. So I'll spare you all from that speech because, it is a speech.
Now is this my favorite album from her? No. But I respect the vision and evolution that it has. There are still songs I skip and others that I have on repeat. What ANTI does for me is get me excited for future albums from her. I wonder how long this "go against the grain" attitude of hers will last. I hope it lasts a long time because change is good and it's needed.
Consideration ft. SZA
Needed Me (my favorite)
Same Ol' Mistakes (it's a cover but still dope)
Pose (on the deluxe version)Rating
ANTI is streaming on Tidal but it is also available on Apple Music and Spotify, so no one is left out!