Rihanna, Unapologetic – Explicit Version
Fulfilling her goal of ubiquity, not originality
The title of Rihanna’s latest album begs the question: For what, exactly, is the Barbadian mega-pop star refusing to apologize? Her duet with ex-flame-and-former-domestic-abuser, Chris Brown, on the Michael Jackson-toasting “Nobody’s Business,” maybe? Or maybe a career built on a constant game of genre-grab: Last year’s dance-pop-heavy Talk That Talk rode bubbling Eurodance trends to delirious heights, and Unapologetic goes to apposite lows with this year’s downer cocktail of dubstep and Weeknd-style R&B. As usual, however, RiRi’s dumpster-diving yields of-the-moment earworms (see her latest guilty-pleasure of a single “Diamonds,” or “Jump,” aka Ginuwine’s “Pony” run through the Skrillex wub-machine). Even “Right Now,” with David Guetta’s ever-present synths working overtime, is destined for glory — if only for the next few weeks. Rihanna may lack originality, but originality isn’t her goal: ubiquity is. And as long as her music continues to reflect the moment as well as Unapologetic, there’s no apology necessary.