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Prior to the official release, Anti was ‘leaked’ online for two minutes and launched the internet into a frenzy. For the first week of actual release, Anti was solely available on Tidal, and Samsung paid Rihanna $25million for Anti promotions—a marketing campaign to rival Trump’s.
Rihanna’s latest venture is a departure from the big club-sound of her last efforts. Anti is almost a return to the Rihanna of old, with old-school influences like those of her previous seven albums. In “Consideration” Rihanna opens with line, (in her native Barbadian accent no less) “I come fluttering in from Neverland / Time could never stop me.” There is also the 80s-inspired “Kiss it Better” and the ballroom-influenced “Love on the Brain”. Rihanna is trying to be timeless, and it kind of works.
Kind of. Filler tracks like “James Joint” and “Woo” are irritating at best; Drake can only do so much to make “Work” better; and “Never Ending” is simply boring—there are more duds than hits here I’m afraid. Overall Anti’s progression works on its own, starting from the melancholic “Consideration” and “Kiss it Better”, moving to the more hopeful “Never Ending” and “Higher”. The transitions between the tracks are barely noticeable—kudos to the album’s production team.
So whilst there are some duds, overall the album’s singles and progression are deceptively damn impressive. Rihanna dropped the singles “Bitch Better Have My Money” and “FourFiveSeconds” in 2015; both were met with a huge reception from the media and the public alike. Yet, while “FourFiveSeconds” was met with continual praise and peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, “Bitch Better Have My Money” only really became popular after the release of it’s momentous music video—ultimately neither song made the cut when the album was finally released. These singles didn’t need the album to be successful, but maybe the album needed the singles.
Anti provides a cohesive modern album experience with old-school influences and good development. Unfortunately, the end product falls flat. By no means is it bad, but I wouldn’t put it at the top of anyone’s to-listen list.