How can you not love Rihanna? She somehow manages to maintain a sweet girl image while releasing some of the most provocative and raciest lyrics. “Roc Me Out” perfectly fits that description. The song combines the sexually enticing
style of Rude Boy and the rock vibe from her Loud CD. The CD, “Talk That Talk” overall feels a little rushed and some of the songs sound too familiar but it’s still a fun listen and better than most of the R&B on the radio.
2010: Loud “California King Bed”
Close call for my favorite song: “Skin” is amazing as Rihanna borrows from Janet Jackson’s concert move of choosing a male fan and giving him a simulated lap dance for performances of “Skin”. But I’ll go with “California King Bed”. It’s essentially a rock power ballad and clearly one of Rihanna’s best vocal performances ever. Spin Magazine described the lyrics about distance, unsaid emotions, and heartbreak as “the waking death of a relationship, the stage of limbo before the final crash.”
2009: Rated R “RUDE BOY”
Barbados and Jamaican vibe in full effect on Rihanna’s 6th #1 hit. The video photography and the zebra suit is unforgettable. “Russian Roulette” is my all-time favorite Rihanna song but I put it on an earlier blog. In 2009, I saw Rihanna perform this live at the MTV Super Bowl Preview concert in Tampa. Lifehouse opened and did a great job but Rihanna was incredible live!
2007: Good Girl Gone Bad – “DISTURBIA”
The CD was re-released with bonus tracks “If I Never See Your Face” and “Disturbia”, two of the Rihanna’s best songs. “Disturbia” has a thumping club beat, addictive tempo changes, and a frantic message of anxiety. The use of a vocoder adds to the tension. This song won the Grammy for Best Dance Song. I remember hearing it at Busch Gardens Hollow-Scream!
2006: A Girl Like Me – “UNFAITHFUL”
Co-written by Ne-Yo and inspired by Evanescence’s piano ballads, this was Rihanna’s first big slow jam. “Unfaithful” has painful lyrics about remorse over cheating and the string section only amplifies the tension of the dramatic lyrics. The song was originally titled “Murderer”.
2005 Music Of The Sun – “PON DE REPLAY”
It all started with this smash! This song was on Rihanna’s demo CD given to Jay-Z. Simple song about getting the DJ to turn the volume up but the fusion of reggae and hip hop beats was fresh and exciting coming from this unknown Island girl. Rihanna has musically grown so much since this initial release.