Forget the morose tone of Rihanna's Rated R; her album Loud, due November 10, certainly lives up to its name. A mixture of soft ballads, island party anthems and empowering love songs, Loud may go down as Rihanna's best album yet.
When MTV News got an early listen of the album, we were treated to six unreleased songs, including Rihanna's duet with Eminem, "Love the Way You Lie (Part II)," a sequel to their smash single released earlier this year. On the song, Rihanna tells her part of the story. The song opens with just her voice and the piano as she sings, "On the first page of our story, the future seemed so bright/ Then this thing turned so evil."
When the chorus kicks in, the hook from the original track is bigger and more cinematic than ever before, but it's Em's seething anger when he delivers his verse that will have fans going bananas. He raps about the pain she causes him just as much as he causes her, spitting rhymes about trading punches with his lady love.
While "Lie (Part II)" is dark, much of the album is about love and partying. On the Stargate-produced "S&M," there's no innuendo when Rihanna sings over a booming beat lyrics like "Sticks and stones may break my bones/ But chains and whips excite me."
"Cheers" is a party anthem featuring an Avril Lavigne sample from her 2003 song "I'm With You," but Rihanna turns the ballad on its head with an island-flavored beat.
Going further into embracing her island roots, Rihanna touches on ska and reggae for her song "Man Down," complete with police sirens and playful synths while singing about shooting a man.
However, Rihanna falls in love on the album too, as evidenced by tracks like "What's My Name?" (She recently shot a scene with Drake for the video. A photo was leaked from the shoot showing the two sharing a laugh while lounging on the couch.)
On "Complicated," Rihanna sings about her playful relationship with her boyfriend. It's airy and has a house-music vibe. She displays her singing chops on the song, belting out lines like "You're not easy to love" and "Everything with you is so complicated." The song is synthy, funky, flirty and bouncy, especially when the beat kicks in midway through.
"California King (Bed)" is a return to power-pop ballads for the singer. She sounds lovely on the breakup track, showing her soft side with lines like, "Chest to chest, nose to nose, palm to palm, we was always just that close," but as it turns out, the pair have certainly grown apart.
Which song are you most looking forward to on the album? Let us know in the comments!