I had a very strange experience this week. I legitimately BOUGHT an entire album (on iTunes). This literally hasn’t happened to me in years. And even more strange…it was a RIHANNA album. I NEVER thought that would EVER happen in my life.
So here’s the backstory – I went to a SoulCycle class for the first time this week where they were celebrating Rihanna’s album release so all of the music in this particular class was from Rihanna’s new album Unapologetic. I’m thinking it must have been the combination of the awesome dark candlelit ambiance in the class paired with the swaggerific instructor who had us working out really hard on those bikes while GETTING IT to Rihanna’s album. But afterwards, I was hooked…both to SoulCycle (I definitely recommend it! But make sure your pockets are deep enough…) and – almost – to Unapologetic.
So after coming home from SoulCycle, naturally I went to look for the album on Spotify, but it wasn’t there. So I decided to wait a couple days, knowing that albums will sometimes show up on Spotify a few days after they’re released. A few days passed, & still no album on Spotify. At this point, I got so desperate to hear the music & remember my awesome SoulCycle experience, that I went on iTunes & BOUGHT the album. I was actually a little concerned that I would have wasted my money on something that wasn’t really that great but just sounded wonderful at the time because I was loving my SoulCycle experience. But very luckily – and to my surprise – that wasn’t at all the case.
Generally, I’m really not a Rihanna fan. She has a couple songs that I really enjoy, but for the most part, I don’t think she’s talented enough to deserve all the hype she gets. So when I heard this album, I was really SHOCKED at how much I LOVED it. That’s right – LOVED it. And what’s even more surprising is that I actually really enjoy the majority of the songs. This album is almost a straight-through no skipping listener for me. Anyway, here’s my review of my favorite tracks (which again, is most of them – I’m not even including every one that I enjoy just to spare you guys from a never-ending post lol):
“Phresh Out the Runway” – just a good dance track & strong intro I think! I believe this was also the first song in our SoulCycle class…which def got me really hype lol
“Diamonds” – welp, didn’t like this one at all when I first heard it outside the context of this album, but I’ve now been sold on this song.
“Numb” – ok so this one’s sound kinda blew me away when I first heard it…& then I heard Eminem…& he just topped it all off with his reference to their last major hit at 2:25 . This addictive beat has def been played a lot more than the others.
“Jump” – another one that blew me away…first I was drawn in by the building intro, then I was loving that cool groovy beat that dropped, then “Pony” snuck in & grabbed me by surprise, and just when I thought I couldn’t handle anymore, that dub-step just came in & closed the deal!! Such a banger to me! (Note: this YouTube version is a little fast-pitched, I couldn’t find one that was exactly the same pitch as the album version but I think the faster pitch is a much better experience than the slower-pitched ones I found…I think they’d probably speed it up for the club anyway )
“Right Now” – like so many of these, I could see this being a really successful dance single, especially with David Guetta’s help. (Also a little sped up pitch-wise, but same deal I think this represents the song better than the slower pitch versions)
“Nobody’s Business” – say what you will about RiRi & Breezy (I personally think they’re doing the most), but I really like this song with Breezy’s tryna-sound-like-MJ self (Not sure what’s going on with the pitch on these YouTube videos but they don’t really sound that much like Justin Bieber chipmunks on the real version lol)
“Get It Over With” – actually feeling the lyrics on this emo one.
“Half of Me” – probably so good because it was co-written by Emeli Sande…and it def has Sande written all over it.
“Diamonds (Gregor Salto Downtempo Remix)” – really just like this version even better than the original, it was the last song in our SoulCycle class & such a great finale!
More broadly, being the music industry junkie nerd that I am, this really made me think about consumer behavior when it comes to buying music. We all know record & album sales have been suffering badly for a while, but I would like to know what Rihanna’s people’s rationale was for not putting her album on Spotify. I didn’t really try very hard to find it elsewhere on the internet, but it just generally seemed less available to me than most albums (correct me if I’m mistaken). But just based on my case study of myself this week (lol), I think that if music is actually good and you make it available to people for free for a limited time (like streaming or even a live listening party) or attach it to some awesomely positive experience (like my SoulCycle class!), it seems like there’s a good chance they’ll buy it to continue listening to it if they have no other easy option…? I mean I know that artists make royalties from Spotify too, but not sure long-term what would be more lucrative for an artist. Just writing stream-of-consciousness here, but I find it all very interesting.
All in all, I guess I’m a RiRi fan (for) now…? Sigh lol