Talk That Talk
At this point, Rihanna’s albums have become my holiday music. Talk That Talk is the third album in three years that’s dropped in November, and simply for the release date I align all three with Thanksgiving leftovers and the baking of red and green sugar cookies. Following her successful 2010 leap into the world of electronic dance music with Loud’s lead single “Only Girl (in the World),” Talk launched with “We Found Love,” a straight-up club single sporting minimalistic verses strung together with a power chorus penned and produced by Scottish electronic singer-songwriter Calvin Harris. The album also follows a similar format as Loud, eclectically blending dance, hip-hop and reggae sounds beneath lyrics that position Rihanna as a rough-riding badass (“Cockiness (Love It),” “Birthday Cake,” “Roc Me Out”) with sporadic moments of raw emotional vulnerability (“Drunk on Love,” “Where Have You Been,” “Farewell”). The message of all Rihanna’s music since the Chris Brown incident seems to be “the world saw me broken down and battered, I have to make you believe I could have beaten him just as hard.” Also look for Rihanna’s re-vocalization of Gil-Scott Heron and Jamie xx’s spoken word House track “I’ll Take Care of U” on Drake’s forthcoming single “Take Care” from the album of the same name.