eMusic Review 1
In the ’50s, Elvis and Sinatra spit out multiple albums a year; it was a model of exposure over evolution. More than any other contemporary pop star, Rihanna doggedly follows this blueprint. The Barbadian, 23, has released four albums in five years — an avalanche of material by today’s standards — yet remains firmly within a claustrophobic tunnel of both subject and sound. Talk That Talk, like last year’s LOUD and 2009′s Rated R, finds her again confused on the hunt for love. As always, the easiest way for Rihanna to cope is to overshare. On Talk, innuendo quickly transitions to explicitness. “Suck my cockiness, lick my persuasion,” she coos on the dancehall-banger “Cockiness (I Love It),” before getting blunt in the 76-second proposition “Birthday Cake”: “I wanna fuck you right now.”
Uber-producers (Dr. Luke, Calvin Harris, Stargate, etc.) layer these quandaries into a barrage of Euro house beats, adding just enough reggae flavor to call the resulting sound international. The rewards are mostly in the nuances: the xx’s “Intro” is gently sampled on “Drunk on Love,” while “We All Want Love” features a bluesy John Fruiscante-style guitar lick, adding a more-tempered, heartfelt vibe to RiRi’s lustful leanings.