Album Review: Rihanna ‘Talk That Talk’

Rihanna, the singer who simply seems to be doing everything right has just released her sixth studio album “Talk That Talk” this week and its absolutely everything. Yes, shes released an album every single year since ’05 (except in 2008, when Good Girls Gone Bad was re-released instead), but her impact has only gotten stronger with each release. Ever since 2009’s Rated R, we’ve learned more and more about the singer behind the hits and on “Talk That That” its no different.

Rihanna’s sixth album is her tightest, cockiest, and most assured record yet. From beginning to end we’re treated with radio-ready, endlessly quotable, and relentlessly catchy pop jams. The 23-year-old bad-girl has taken what emerged on Loud and has taken it to a whole other level on “Talk That Talk.” No one out right now is really giving us SEX, SEX, SEX, like Rihanna is on this album. Thanks to the help of Ester Dean who co-wrote at least half the record, RiRi manages to to become naughtier and filthier than ever. “Suck my cockiness, lick my persuasion,” Rihanna demands on the Bangladesh-produced “Cockiness (I Love It),” and lets not forget the chorus “I love it, I love it/I love it when you eat it.” She isn’t here to sugar coat anything. This is Bad Girl Gone Badder. The term “bubblegum pop” does not exist in Rihanna’s vocabulary. The same applies to many other of the album cuts: “Roc Me Out“, “Watch n’ Learn” and the too short, “Birthday Cake.” It may be the shortest song on the album but it’s certainly one of the most memorable. A full version NEEDS to be released eventually.

Apart from the album’s most sexual offerings, we’re are treated to three gorgeous ballads. The StarGate-produced “Drunk On Love” is easily one of album’s other major highlights. The use of The xx‘s “Intro” works so perfectly that is just too magical for words. People always tend to criticize Rihanna‘s lack of emotional depth in her songs, but if you honestly can’t feel anything from her fragile vocals on “Drunk On Love” or the album’s closer “Farewell,” then your ears may be broken or you just need some more convincing. Deluxe bonus track “Fool In Love” should do the trick. This is the best Rihanna has sounded, EVER. Its as if her voice is penetrating your soul. A true game changer and gorgeous moment for RiRi. She may not be the most gifted vocalist, but without a doubt, the girl WERKS with what she has.

A Rihanna album has never been this cohesive. Talk That Talk is an excellent pop record throughout but its unquestionable highlights are in what will/already are the biggest hits on the album. They’re “We Found Love” and “Where Have You Been.”

The former, “We Found Love” has already a proven to be an instant worldwide smash by topping the charts in the US, UK, Canada, Ireland, etc. It captures so much passion and emotion in the simplest of lyrics (“We found love in a hopeless place”). Then comes the other Calvin Harris-produced number and absolute smash “Where Have You Been.” With the help of Dr. Luke and Cirkut, “Where Have You Been” was crafted to be a massive hit. While the song’s chorus is undeniably catchy, its the explosive breakdown that make this dance-pop number a transcendent anthem. Once the song is released, it will be un-stopp-able.

Talk That Talk will only be bringing Rihanna to higher heights. This is Rihanna (all of her) at her best. 4.5/5

BUY Rihanna’s sixth studio album “Talk That Talk” on iTunes NOW!
BUY Rihanna’s sixth studio album “Talk That Talk (Deluxe Edition)” on iTunes NOW!


  • shaun

    I completely disagree with your review. I think this album is one of Rih’s worst. Loud and Rated R are much better for me, I’m not feeling the overly sexual lyrics in some of the songs. It screams desperation for more fame and attention. Best songs: We Found Love, You da One, Roc Me Out, Watch n’ Learn, Drunk on Love. Worst songs: Cockiness, Farewell, Where Have You Been, We All Want Love. 2.5-3/5 for me. and Im a pretty enthusiastic Rihanna fan…

    • Ry

      What makes me laugh is that you said you don’t like the fact that it’s overtly sexual and makes the album bad, yet you pick 2 of the most sexual songs on the record and say they’re the best? haha

  • Ashlee

    The fact that you even think ‘Where Have You Been’ is one of the worst songs makes your opinion irrelevant. It’s the best song on the album and will be huge for her. I agreed with the review, I love that the album is sexed up. She is 23 years old!

  • Vitor

    “Where Have You Been” is one of the most powerfull songs of the year!!!! And 2011 is a year to remember!! Unfortunately TTT its not really a good album, only the Calvin Harris tracks are really memorable.

  • Andrew

    I have to say, I’ve always liked Rihanna, Good Girl Gone Bad was amazing (at the time) and When Rated R came out I doubted her 100% I was utterly disappointed, I didn’t even give it a chance. When I finally listened to the entire album it opened my eyes to how diverse and creative her music can be. I’ve been a fan since Rated R and I looked forward to LOUD but I feel like, as good as it was, it lacked passion. I heard the album preview for Talk That Talk and was doubtful again but when I was able to listen the full album I was so impressed. I think the sex is more than just for show, it truly reflects her forward, bad girl attitude. She’s not a slut and she’s not a skank. She’s real and has real emotions and only sings about what others are too afraid to sing about. If your too “good” for her sexual passion, chances are you haven’t had much sexual passion in your own life. I’ve always said Rated R was my favourite, but this record is doing it for me.

    Favorites: Red Lipstick, We Found Love, Do Ya Thing, Talk That Talk, Drunk On Love, Fool In Love.

    I 100% agree with your review Jon, your passion for music really shows through your respect for artists in your reviews.

  • Carlos Perez

    I’ve been listening to this album non stop since it was leaked, and all I kept thinking you just put it in words. Couldn’t agree more with all you said!! Can’t wait for Where Have You Been to be released, hopefully as a third single 🙂

  • Ricky

    Only really like We Found Love, Where Have You Been, Cockiness, Watch N Learn, & Bday Cake. (and Fool in Love, kinda). Everything else was deleted off my itunes. Was expecting more from her.

    Where Have You Been will be massive for her. Like nationwide massive. Everything else is up in the air.

    Expected much much more from her. This is def not her best album. I think Rated R still has that position.

  • paul

    Totally agree with you review Jon. Nothing else to say.
    My personal favorites are: Talk That Talk, Cockiness, Birthday Cake, Roc me Out, Whatch n Learn and Red Lipstick.
    Which i think are going to be MASSIVE HITS (or already are): We Found Love, Where Have You Been and Talk That Talk

  • Alicia

    I like most of this album, but I don’t think it’s anywhere near as cohesive or fully realized as Rated R was. I wish it didn’t feel so rushed. (That Birthday Cake fade-out is super annoying.) Oh, well. There’ll be probably another one next year.

    • KritikalNote

      I think Rated R was very in tune with Rihanna at stage in her life and career, I think there were some wholes though. I personally though Russian Roulette was a bad play for a single, and even worse for being the 1st. One think that Rated R did have was EDGE, and I think that EDGE is still evident on Talk That Talk, its just in a different side of her…. Talk That Talk is like “Sell Me Candy” (from GGGB) on steroids LOL

  • KritikalNote

    I think this is definitely Rihanna’s most “cohesive” albums in terms of a topic, since Good Girl Gone Bad (GGGB)… While many may not agree on the message/topic of the album, SEX SEX SEX, and MORE SEX you can’t deny that it is very well put together, and stays on course (while some songs its less apparent, trust its there).

    In the past I always thought Rihanna’s albums were good, but kinda strayed at times. Best example A Girl Like Me, I don’t think there was really ONE SOLID TOPIC being discussed. This album really ties together Rated R’s RECKLESSNESS, and LOUD’s ENERGY, and brings Rihanna back to her BAD ASS ATTITUDE from GGGB to make for a pretty solid release in my opinion.

    I think with regards to how it will be marketed, the SEXIEST SONGS won’t get released, lol, because it would just be WRONG lol… I think We Found Love was a great single choice as is You Da One. I know Where Have You Been will be released, and perhaps Talk That Talk and/or Roc Me Out (for the more “urban” platform)… Drunk On Love might be released as the last single (it really reminds me of Te Amo)…..

    Lastly the album could have done without We All Want Love & Red Lipstick

  • soulie

    I think she is going to really have a tough time meeting the Rated-R standards. If i ignore Rated-R, this probably is a great album but sadly nowhere near Rated-R.
    But then i’m not complaining though am not sure sex is the only emotion she should embrace!! But she is just 23 and has a long way to go. Hopefully her emotions and styles turn diverse over time.
    But “Fool in love” is true RiRi for me.

  • The Music Prophet

    I disagree with the review as well unfortunately ….. this album is quite a disappointment. It’s rushed, way to rushed in my opinion, and Rihanna doesn’t have any creative input in it at all …. it’s just another album …another year …. and nothing fresh or new. It is cohesive i’ll give her that ….. but the material is worthless drivel.

  • puss

    you da one is one of the worst songs, it was a big mistake releasing it, it will leave a worthy single without a release..
    Remember Rihanna’s demo called Saxon? well, it turned out into Red Lipstick!
    Fav: where have you been, fool in love, talk that talk, we found love, farewell, roc me out, drunk on love.

    worst ones: you da one, we all want love, cockiness

  • Ryan Davies

    I’m hoping for a re-release sometime in 2012 then a new album in 2013. I really like that Talk That Talk had potential there are some really good songs like We Found Love, You Da One, Where Have You Been, Talk That Talk & Drunk On Love. Unfortunately the album hit a major bump in the road with Cockiness & Birthday Cake what is the point in those tracks. The album is definately rushed. I was one of those unlucky Rihanna fans who bought the Deluxe Edition and found that Do Ya Thing & Fool In Love could have easily been on the standard album and replaced Cockiness & Birthday Cake if she re-released the album with the full version of Birthday Cake and 4 new songs I would be happy. I just want to feel like I bought a full and complete album that has been polished and gives the Talk That Talk era the recognition it deserves. A new 18 track re-release with a DVD of the music videos and the making of the album that’s all I ask for. Come on Rihanna take a break to gain inspiration before diving into a new album we need a new topic other than Sex.

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