Rihanna goes bad. This is a good thing.
Talia Kraines 2007
Rihanna's never been the most consistent of pop artists. While "SoS" and "Pon De Replay" shimmered with dance floor glitter, the world could certainly have coped without the likes of "If It's Lovin' That You Want" and the somewhat disturbing "Unfaithful".
But with Good Girl Gone Bad, it seems Barbados' prettiest export has really found her place in pop only allowing Timbaland's "Lemme Get That" to hark back to her dancehall roots. Instead Rihanna and her team of famous songwriters and producers have grabbed some of the chunkiest beats from the 1990s and pulled off a stunning 3rd album that's packed full of singles and just as good as Nelly Furtado's "Loose".
The sizzling "Umbrella" might be the biggest hit Rihanna's ever had, but there's plenty on this album that could do even better. Second single "Shut Up And Drive" almost unnoticeably turns "Blue Monday" into a brand new song with Rihanna declaring her "engines ready to explode". And if New Order weren't big enough to sample, prepare yourself for the sweltering disco grind of "Don't Stop The Music". Finely weaving the hypnotising "ma ma say, ma ma sa" bit of Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Starting Somethin" into the melody, by the time it finishes, we dare you not to be racing around the dancefloor arms flailing.
And as for the slowies, well although we might not think much of Neyo's solo career, after Beyonce's brilliant "Irreplaceable", he's certainly proved that he can nail the perfect bittersweet love song. Here he teams up with Rihanna for "Hate That I Love You", a gorgeously simple modern duet which shows up the Timberlake penned "Rehab".
Three cheers for her declaration that 'once a good girl goes bad, she's gone forever'. If being bad does this for Rihanna, then being good, is like, totally overrated.