Rihanna’s ANTI delivers after long wait


Nadya Awino

Rihanna recently released her new album, ANTI. Although the album sold less than 1,000 copies in its first week, it received 5.2 million streams on Tidal, and reached number one on the iTunes charts. According to the NY Times, experts expect ANTI to sell 130,000 copies, which will be represented on next week’s charts.

Nadya Awino, Reporter, photographer

Late last week, Rihanna dropped the album fans have waited for since 2012. Rihanna released ANTI to iTunes and Jay-Z’s streaming service, Tidal. The long-awaited release received 13 million streams in the first 14 hours, and gave Tidal one million trial subscriptions in the first hour. ANTI throws Rihanna’s Caribbean pop sound right out the window, replacing it with 13 songs that reinvents the singer’s image forever. Time Magazine says “Rihanna has found her most compelling voice yet,” while A.V. Club said, “Anti’s tracks combine to create a picture of Rihanna at her most relatable and enthralling.”

The album starts off with “Consideration,” where Rihanna teams up with singer SZA to create a harmony unlike one ever heard before. The hard beats somewhat resemble that of Earl Sweatshirt’s “Hive,” bringing the whole song together.

Following “James Joint,” a smooth, almost dreamy song describing Rihanna’s innermost desires, “Kiss It Better” shows the singer’s softer side. In the song, she talks about her lover who, despite their problems, she still wants to stay with.

“Work,” featuring the rapper Drake, brings Rihanna back to more of her usual style, letting her Barbadian accent flow throughout the song. As the first single from the album, it conforms to a sound suitable for airplay.

Rihanna also experimented with rock influences on her album, especially in “Desperado.” The sultry song tells the tale of a man “on the run,” and Rihanna’s struggle with whether or not she should leave him or stay for the thrill of it.

Rihanna had multiple producers and writers on ANTI, including R&B singer The Weeknd, who helped write “Woo,” among other writers. His influence shines in the guitar-driven, bass-heavy beats.

In “Needed Me,” Rihanna dispelled any rumors about her needing a man. Instead she says that they in fact need her, singing I was good on my own, that’s the way it was, that’s the way it was.”

After “Yeah, I Said It,” a suggestive and sensual song, Rihanna digs deeper into her feelings with her cover of “Same Ol’ Mistakes.” Tame Impala, the original artist of “New Person, Same Ol’ Mistakes,” said “We were more than happy to send it her way. We’re all really happy with how the song turned out, love it!”

“Love on the Brain” and “Higher” showcase Rihanna’s strong, soulful vocals. Both songs sampled 50s doo-wop beats and describes exactly how it feels to be lovestruck.

Rihanna closed the album with two strong ballads, “Never Ending” and “Close to You.” “Close to You is my favorite song,” sophomore Kallie Chabla said. “It’s such a deep, emotional song; it was the perfect way to end ANTI.”

Overall, Rihanna delivered a solid body of work that will change the way people view her as an artist forever. She took all of the best aspects of her previous albums and combined them to create ANTI, turning in one of the most creative, inspiring albums of the year. Critics and fans alike raved about the album, with Rolling Stone giving ANTI four stars out of five, and fans “breaking the internet” with thousands of pictures and posts about the album. Senior Colby Robinson, a longtime Rihanna fan, said “You can tell a lot of thought, time, and care went into each of the songs chosen. The queen is back and I hope y’all got your seat belts on and are ready for the ride.” Purchase ANTI here or stream it on Tidal with a free 60-day trial.

The Chant’s grade: A-