A song-by-song first reaction to Rihanna’s “ANTI”

rihanna anti

I waited four years for a smash album from Rihanna and all I got was a mess of Disney theme songs and tunes about crack.

Okay, okay, it’s not that bad. Honestly, it’s not bad at all. But if you’re looking for an album of club bangers and booty shakers, this ain’t it. Here’s my song-by-song reaction to Rihanna’s eighth album, “ANTI” – available for free download here. (Unfortunately it is on Tidal and not Spotify.)

  1. “Consideration”
    First, I’m reminded (AGAIN) how annoying it is that this album is on Tidal and not on Spotify. I think Rihanna knows this too which is why she offered a free download. Anyway, this song is pretty boring. I can’t think of any words for it than boring. It sounds like a filler song on a soundtrack.
  2. “James Joint”
    Rihanna likes smoking weed. Did you guys know that? She wants you to know that. She also likes making out. And with that, the song is over. Oooooookay.
  3. “Kiss It Better”
    This is some Toni Braxton circa 1993 realness. One of the best things about Rihanna is that she has quite literally no rules for herself. Girl has no boundaries. It wouldn’t be a Rihanna album unless she sang about explicit sexual relations. Unexpectedly, she sings “Who cares if it feels like crack?” – a line which makes me feel pretty awkward considering I have no idea what crack feels like and no intentions of ever knowing what that feels like. I’m good, Rihanna. You can keep those crack feelings. The production on this album is (so far) a lot lower than of Ri-Ri’s previous album “Unapologetic” – “ANTI” has the vibe it was made in a basement on a drum machine from 1996. I miss Calvin Harris’ influence. I miss dance Rihanna.
  4. “Work” ft. Drake
    Even though this song sounds like a strain of consonants and grunts, I can see the catchiness of it. You know when it’s 3:30 a.m. and you’re back at your friend’s house  after the bar and you’re drunk and really want to go to sleep but some dumb girl is still in the kitchen dancing to a mix she’s playing on her iPhone? This is that song she’s playing.
  5.  “Desperado”
    Rihanna is really good at making sexy songs. “Birthday Cake” is sexy, “Skin” is sexy, and now “Desperado” is sexy. This is the song Victoria’s Secret will use in their future commercials. This song makes you want to buy lingerie and drink red wine. APPROVED!
  6. “Woo”
    This song is really redundant – Rihanna sings about “yayo” – another thing I can’t relate to, hell, I’m not even sure I know what it is, and there’s a lot more autotune. You can just skip this one.
  7. “Needed Me”
    Rihanna actually sings on this song which is a definite upgrade. But she really turns it up with the line “Tryna fix your inner issues with a bad bitch” – somewhere Amber Rose is playing this song with a glass of champagne in her hand and bobbing to the beat. I actually listened to this song twice because lyrically, it’s a fantastic approach that few other artists are taking. It calls out the insecurities of both sides of a relationship in an extremely honest and realistic way.
  8. “Yeah, I Said It”
    Andddddd we’re back to sexually savage Rihanna!
  9. “Same Ol’ Mistakes”
    If you dig Tame Impala you’ll like this song – it’s a cover of their song “New Person, Same Old Mistakes.” I wish it were a bit further of a departure – the songs don’t sound different enough to both be necessities on a playlist (think “Pursuit of Happiness” by Kid Cudi vs. Lissie – this is how covers should be). The song is also six and a half minutes long. It could be three and be long enough.
  10. “Never Ending”
    Someone asked Rihanna to make a Disney theme song that sucked worse than Coldplay and put sloths to sleep. Fortunately, it does, in fact, end.
  11. “Love On The Brain”
    This song should be added to every Spotify break-up playlist – OH WAIT, YOU CAN’T ADD IT TO A SPOTIFY PLAYLIST BECAUSE OF STUPID FREAKING TIDAL, NEVERMIND. Well, the three of you who have Tidal, add it to your break-up playlists and sing this loudly in your car with tears streaming down your face.
  12. “Higher”
    Rihanna heard me say she had too much autotune so she got rid of the autotune. Don’t ever say she can’t sing.
  13. “Close To You”
    Another Disney theme song. Sigh. The first half of this album seemed like it was going to be a chill, fun, sexy drunk album, but the second half is pretty emotional and sad. Maybe that’s a good thing. This album is all over the place, but seriously, who isn’t all over the place? I like this album for being unpredictable, random, and different. This isn’t an album by Taylor Swift or Adele. And it shouldn’t be.
  • Michelle Beattie

    Best Rihanna view ever… Just ever. How am I just now finding this blog?!? I was looking for a review for Julep’s Noir mask & now I’ve found myself in Narnia. Oh well, I’m not complaining 🙂

    • Thea Neal

      Yasssss Michelle. Best comment ever. I gotchu, boo.

  • Stephanie Rose Deprest

    Rihanna is my home girl and i couldnt agree more with these songs.. i love “love onnthe brain” and “needed me” other than that.. im like rihanna wtf girl?!? Haha still love her