Big talker

Talk may be cheap, but Rihanna’s latest album, Talk That Talk, is not.

The album is, first and foremost, a pop-dance album that enlists the help of big name artists such as Jay-Z and Calvin Harris to round out the 12-track suite. The album is similar to her previous work, but, in typical pop fashion, also jumps on the electronic sound that has pervaded the charts over the past year.

However, Talk That Talk tries hard — almost too hard — to be a massively popular record, a fact that emphasizes the album’s best and worst qualities.

At its core, Talk That Talk is a thematically controversial effort — the entire album is laced with sexually explicit lyrics. They start sweet with the first track “You da One,” but quickly become raunchy as they progress.

The album’s brazenly provocative nature is best exemplified with the vulgar song “Cockiness (Love It)” that features lyrics such as “Suck my cockiness/ Lick my persuasion.”

Still, the overtly sexual theme does little to detract from the catchy beats and powerful vocals on display.

“Talk That Talk” (ft. Jay-Z) is one of the standout tracks, partially thanks to Jay-Z’s spectacular performance reminiscent of 2009’s hit “Rude Boy.” Unlike some of the other songs on the album, this one is gritty in all the right ways.

Tracks such as “We All Want Love” and “Farewell” are exemplary showcases of Rihanna’s unique voice, while “Where Have You Been” is the perfect dance-dubstep follow-up to “We Found Love.”

While the lyrics of some of the tracks on Talk That Talk are questionable, the beats and production are undeniably fantastic. Each track brings a unique flavor and, when they’re all put together, they represent something rare in the field: A solid pop album, through and through.

If anything, Rihanna’s fame alone would have lifted this album to No. 1 on the charts, but in this case it probably won’t have to. Rihanna’s demographic is well accounted for in Talk That Talk, and fans of hypnotic beats and sassy lyrics will lap this up.

VERDICT: Talk That Talk is a well-produced, sexy pop album that will leave fans begging for more.

diversions@umdbk.com

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