Four years later Rihanna releases new album; contains some of singer’s best work

Four years. That is how long Rihanna kept her Navy waiting before releasing her latest album “ANTI.”

Since her career took off in 2005, Rihanna released an album every year until the trend ended after her 2012 release of “Unapologetic.” After numerous false hopes of album releases and scarce singles, Rihanna fans rejoiced when “ANTI” was released.

In her new album, Rihanna takes listeners on a journey of unattachment and reckless fun, offering an unapologetic display of pride in knowing exactly what you want.

Though her album’s message is characteristic of the @badgalriri her fans know and love, the sound of Rihanna’s new album is vastly different than others; this, in some cases, leads to unforgettable lyrics on forgettable tracks.

Rihanna opens the album with the song “Consideration,” a collaboration with SZA, which is a far-cry from ballads such as “Stay” and “FourFiveSeconds.” The premier to the album holds a hook where Rihanna proclaims “I got to do things my own way,” setting the stage for an experience different from any that the 28-year-old Barbados native has ever orchestrated before.

Instead of trying to heal from past heartache and yearning to be loved, unapologetic Rihanna stands proud and knowledgeable of her true feelings, embracing herself. Early songs on the album like “Kiss it Better” and “Work” highlight Rihanna’s acknowledgement of her irresistibility while also seeking to be attainable.

In tracks like “Desperado” and “Love on the Brain,” the singer explores the balance of wanting to be with someone, but not wanting to be hurt. Before Rihanna gets too into her feelings, she remembers that she has held someone else’s heart in her hands in “Needed Me.”

Up until track 12, Rihanna explores the freedom of hiding from love, instructions on how to love her and the declaration that she knows who she wants. Set to the tune of the record player sounds on a Sunday morning, the heart of “ANTI” lies in the track “Higher.”

Rihanna uses this song to proclaim that she simply wants to be with an old lover who made her happy.

The album closes with a ballad as a reminder that, though her heart is a little more guarded with rough edges, Rihanna is still as vulnerable as ever, shown in “Close to You.”

“ANTI,” though riddled with some forgettable tracks such as “Woo” and “Never Ending,” holds some of Rihanna’s greatest work.

Rihanna is an artist who always sings about the pains of love, but in this collection of songs, she owns her feelings, daring anyone to question her.

The sound of this album is at first shocking to longtime Navy members. Make no mistake. This album is not going to have videos of Rihanna soaking in a bathtub begging a man to stay with her. The sounds are harsher and the notes deeper.

Rihanna’s island accent is thick and seamed into many songs, which could be the cause of her bluntness on the album. The influence of her music mate Drake can also be found in tracks such as “Desperado.”

“ANTI”’s sound did not completely fall out of the blue though, because the single “Bitch Better Have My Money” is a great introduction to “ANTI” Rihanna.

“ANTI” is a great album that was worth the four year wait. It did not hurt that the album was free for download in its first week and is available on streaming services. Time to listen to it fifty more times before the “ANTI” world tour starts.