After approximately 2 million years (give or take an ice age), former pop star Rihanna has finally decided to come out of retirement to make her only good decision so far: releasing her album free of charge. After complete radio silence for two years, and a painfully awkward year of hits and (mostly) misses, the singer has finally, blessedly, released “Anti”, a 13-track effort that’s… not her best work.
Following three singles in 2015 (“FourFiveSeconds”, “BBHMM”, “American Oxygen”) that served solely as teasers, #R8 has finally ended its reign as Twitter’s biggest running joke (mostly among the world’s bored music journos).
None of the three songs appear on “Anti”, with a brand-new try-hard track titled “Work” released as the album’s lead single instead. Not even Drake could save the song from being widely panned by critics, but in Rihanna’s defense, it’s one of the “least worst” songs on the album.
Fuelled by a laughable publicity campaign comprising an accidental early release on music streaming platform TiDAL and a VR series by sponsor Samsung that stretched out for way too long, the Rihanna machine may be at their clumsiest here. What happened to the team that carried out year after year of slick album leadups and publicity?
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Rihanna is a definite hit-maker; the Queen Midas of Pop. Everything she touched (from 2007 to 2012) didn’t just turn into gold – it turned into diamonds. Even at her weakest pre-“Anti”, her previous album “Unapologetic” still spawned hits like “Stay”, “Diamonds”, and “Phresh Out The Runway”. Why, then, the sudden change for a more “timeless” sound that just doesn’t work with the masses?
Gone are frequent collaborators Stargate and Ester Dean. The Guardian highlighted that this shift away from radio-friendly mainstream pandering could be Rihanna’s complex effort at scoring another Grammy or similar awards, but we’re less convinced.
But enough from us; judge the album for yourselves! Stream Rihanna’s “Anti” exclusively on TiDAL here. You can also download the entire album for free here. As part of their efforts to woo more listeners away from Spotify, TiDAL are also offering a complimentary 60-day free trial upon your download. Maybe the true publicity winners here are… TiDAL themselves?
The one last hope that we’re hanging on would be news of a deluxe version of “Anti” with three bonus tracks arriving on TiDAL on 29th January 2016. Let’s just hope it’s not remixes of “Work”.
You guys legit made me the happiest girl in the world!! I’m so grateful that you appreciate the #ANTI album! It’s the most rewarding feeling
— Rihanna (@rihanna) January 28, 2016
Hey, but if this new album is what Rihanna really wants to create, then so be it.