Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy
15

Music Review

Rihanna: 'Good Girl Gone Bad Reloaded'

By
Rihanna: 'Good Girl Gone Bad Reloaded'
Released on Tuesday, Jun 10 2008

Rihanna changed her hairstyle before recording Good Girl Gone Bad - without consulting her record label. "I didn't have any discussions, nothing," she recalled recently. "I just cut it. I dyed it black." This might seem like pop trivia of the fluffiest variety, but Rihanna wants us to think her small act of defiance was symbolic: taking control of her image gave her the confidence to take control of her sound. "I went into the studio making music my way. I found myself all at once," she's explained.

Nobody's suggesting that she benefited from some kind of reverse Samson effect, whereby her musical powers increased as her hair got shorter. After all, she doesn't bag a single songwriting credit here, preferring to leave the dirty work to the usual urban pop suspects: Timbaland, Tricky and The Dream, Stargate, JR Rotem. But it seems likely that her newfound sass pushed her collaborators to raise their games, resulting in the album that's made her a superstar. Good Girl Gone Bad's current roll of honour? A Grammy, five international hit singles and sales figures in excess of five million.

Its calling card, of course, is the song that spent ten weeks at the top of the charts last summer. But 'Umbrella' is merely the brightest jewel in the album's crown, with each of its first five songs sounding like a hit. These tracks doff their caps towards different genres - 'Don't Stop The Music' isn't far off filter house; 'Shut Up And Drive' a plasticky take on pop/rock - but together they form an opening stretch that's bold, catchy and danceable. In fact, it's the best start to any pop album of the last 12 months.

Good Girl Gone Bad eases off after this, both in tempo and creativity, but what follows is a cut above most girly R&B fare. Three Timbaland productions are decent rather than dazzling, but 'Say It' and 'Good Girl Gone Bad' are glossy, accomplished ballads and 'Question Existing' finds a new twist on the old price-of-fame number.

Now, to add another million or so units to its sales tally, Good Girl Gone Bad is getting the reissue treatment. The "Reloaded" edition adds three new tracks to the original album, one of which, 'Take A Bow', has already been released as single. It's only the second best of the new songs, superior to a flaccid Maroon 5 collaboration, but trumped by 'Disturbia', a wonky electropop tune that recalls the album's thrilling opening.

Needless to say, it isn't worth forking out for Good Girl Gone Bad twice just to hear the new songs. To be honest, each of them is likely to be released as a single anyway. But if Reloaded encourages a few hesitant pop fans to invest in this album, the closest thing to a Thriller that 2007/8 is likely to produce, this rather cynical reissue should be let off the hook... just.

To finish, a couple of questions. Rihanna's hair seems to be getting shorter with every video, so will her music keep getting better? And, if so, what on earth will she produce if she "does a Britney" and shaves it all off?


You May Like

Comments

Loading...