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4.4 out of 5 stars108
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 16 November 2009
Ultimately, Rated R is an absolutely fantastic album with pretty much no fillers. This album has taken Rihanna to stronger and more powerful new heights that I'm sure nobody ever imagined would happen. Can you believe this is the same artist that released "Pon De Replay" and "SOS"?

Rated R is a very personal journal of the events that Rihanna has been through the past year; she experiments with new musical sounds completely, such as on the lead single "Russian Roulette," which is very reminiscent of "Question Existing" from the smash "Good Girl Gone Bad," though much better in quality (not to say the latter wasn't good, which it was!). Though while she investigates new and unheard musical adventures that the public would never come to expect from RiRi, she also keeps it within her boundaries by achieving success with the likes of "Wait Your Turn," which still isn't the generic-sounding same old you hear from most of Rihanna's peers these days. Other songs exploring her new side are the pop-rock/alternative number "Fire Bomb," as well as "Cold Case Love," an epic six minute build-up that is one heck of a song. She also maintains the catchiness of her past music on tracks such as "Rude Boy," which wouldn't go amiss on "Good Girl Gone Bad," and fierce, over the top tracks such as "G4L" bring out the more agressive, angry side in Rihanna, similar to the likes of "Breakin' Dishes," though she takes it up a level here.

There is honestly no filler on this effort, believe me when I say. People need to take this album as it is, instead of complaining about the lack of dance songs, or leave it. It's a shame the sole one-star review on this page has reviewed the album based on a simple case of parental advisory instead of the actual quality, which shows STRONG artistic development and creativity.

All in all, fantastic. Absolutely recommended.
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on 16 November 2009
Being a fan of metal music mostly, artists in the mainstream don't generally appeal to me, but Rihanna has always had a sort of pulling factor for me. However, I've never bought her albums before - only downloaded selected songs, but upon hearing the first listen of this album, even I was blown away by most of the songs on it.

Yes, it's darker and edgier than her previous work, but that makes no difference as it works alongside Rihanna's stunning vocals. It's definitely an album that's in the same vein as the song "Disturbia", so if you're looking for something along the lines of her "S.O.S" or "Umbrella" songs, then this may not be the album for you.

Album highlights for me include Rockstar 101, Russian Roulette, Fire Bomb, G4L, The Last Song and my personal favourite, Cold Case Love. Definitely one I'll be buying...
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on 10 July 2012
This album was penned when Rihanna was going through a hard time in her life and the album reflects that. This is no doubt her deepest album and is vastly different to her others. This album is like marmite- you either love it or hate it. And I for one, love it.

The album begins with an interlude "Mad House." This sets the tone of the album, and is a great interlude. However, I would have loved for it to have been made into a full song.

The next song "wait your turn" is not the best song on the album, but it is solid and is good lyrically. It has quite a dark tone to it, and the chorus is catchy. You may not like it on first listen but it is a grower.

"Hard" is a song I liked on first listen. It speaks of being strong emotionally and is very relevant to Rihannas own lift. It feels empowering to listen to.

"Stupid in Love" is the first ballad of the album. It is hard to not see the significance behind this song which is what makes it so powerful. I think everyone can relate to this song in a way.

"Rockstar 101" is different to anything Rihannas every done before. It didn't do to well in the charts, but it's chorus is one I couldn't get out of my head.

"Russian Roulette" was the first single of the album. When I first heard it I was disappointed. But this is another song that grows on you, and shows how much Rihanna has grown musically.

"Fire bomb" is one of the best kept secrets of the album, and in my opinion very underrated. It is not a song that would be released as a single but it is a very good song and one that you would probably like even if you weren't a Rihanna fan.

"Rude boy" is the smasher of the album. The song stormed to the top of the charts everywhere with it's naughty lyrics "come here rude boy boy can you get it up." If you haven't heard of this song you must be living in a cave.

"Photographs" is a nice easy song. It speaks of a break up and heart ache, with a duet with Will.I.Am.

G4L is a metaphorical song. On the surface it sounds ridiculous, but then you realise it stands for loyalty. The song is quite dark though and very different to "fun" Rihanna.

"Te Amo" was also a very popular song. The song is a beautiful "summer" song, that tells of unrequited love between women. One of my favourites from the album.

"Cold case Love" is another song about break up, which is the recurring theme on the album. It is a long song, and grew on me after a few listens.

"The Last song" is my least favourite from the album, and I personally think it should have ended with Cold case love. I find I often leave this song out.

Overall, this is a great album about growing up and moving on. A lot of people who don't like Rihannas usual stuff like this album, and I really recommend it.
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on 23 November 2009
Much was made of the lyrics of this album and i have to admit i fell into the cussing out rihanna about being resposible for her lyrics and that one song i still stand by it but it certainly did not stop the rest of her album sounding relevant and new. The sound is not repetative and is funky and different and infuses a lot of different sounds which i am impressed with, she also went harder on the vocals hitting a few notes i had not heard her do on her last album, songs shift with great emotion but nothing sappy like feel sorry for me types, having gone through what she went through with CB she wrote a few songs based on that but nothing silly but more of a mature way of looking at this situation. However i am impressed with this album and for longevity sake Rihanna has done it right, the last 2 albums are very different and that is what will keep her name on the tip of other folks tongues. She will never be like Alicia Keys, or Angie Stone type of sound but she is young and funky and more popular, but i am glad she took a bit of a turn from be a cute pretty girl with pretty lyrics and dared to be different
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on 12 December 2009
She's in a murderous mood for sure, which is why at a certain point I began referencing the artist by a new, more fitting nickname: "Rihannoir." Lyrically, Rihanna has all but rejected the meaningless dance floor romps to ballsy statements and sarcastic jibes.

Distrust and hurt is written largely on a number of the tracks here (given that she doesn't write most her own material, she has to find others to voice her anger and frustration). It is impossible to listen to many of the songs on "Rated R"--such as "Cold Case Love" (a highlight co-written by Justin Timberlake) or "Stupid in Love"-- and not filter them through that horrific context whether that is how they are meant to be heard or not. For example, first single "Russian Roulette," which we reviewed extensively for all its gunplay, is more about the psycho-sexual drama of being in a damaging relationship. The firearm motif continues on "G4L," which apparently stands for "Gangsta for Life." On the roughest of cuts, including the menacingly paced "G4L," Rihanna let's loose a deluge of blood-chilling statements: "I lick the gun when I'm done, 'cause I know that revenge is sweet." To tell you the truth my eyebrows raise on that statement along with the other stuff that was coming out of her mouth. Like "Russian Roulette," the song has a certain grinding, sensual mid-tempo rhythm that recalls a Shirley Bassey-era James Bond theme.

Yes, there is a world of difference between playing out some revenge fantasy in song and hitting someone in real life--and we are in no way suggesting otherwise-- but it can be a fine line to delicately walk between being both the totally innocent victim and the perpetrator, both of which she plays on "Rated R." On "Rude Boy," she tells her lover, "I like the way you pull my hair." It's tempting to give Rihanna a free pass in the name of expressing her rage and art, but it's equally fair to call her out for sending, if not mixed, slightly confounding messages. As much as Rihanna can bring the tough-girl swagger, I wouldn't want to face her in a dark alley, even with her in six-inch Louboutins--she's equally convincing as the vulnerable, hurting half of a destructive duo on "Stupid in Love," a stirring ballad in which friend after friend tries to wave her off a damaging relationship before she finds her own strength to walk away.

Rihanna doesn't have a particularly strong or broad range, but her voice is expressive and supple. One of her strongest suits is her delivery that often reflects her island upbringing. Instead of trying to sound like every other pop singer, on such tunes as "Wait Your Turn," and "Hard," she incorporates Caribbean beats and her patois into the songs, giving them both a unique feel. "Hard" finds Rihanna at her most defiant, pulling out all the stops to prove just why she's so...well, hard: "I'ma rock this sh.t like fashion, as in goin' til they say stop / And my runway never looked so clear / But the hottest b.tch in heels right here," she proudly proclaims over a grinding series of industrial beats, horns, and piano chords. Regardless of whether one is inclined to accept Riri's new-found street cred, it's all but impossible not to want to play along in the meantime.

The album isn't completely icy however, as the artist breaks down her defenses more than a few times for a series of introspective, though somewhat uneven jams. "Stupid in Love" is both the album's only traditional ballad and also the most skippable part of Rated R, as the singer plods through a somewhat embarrassing chorus: "This is stupid / I'm not stupid / Don't talk to me like I'm stupid." Other slow numbers, including the masterful, six-minute "Cold Case Love" and the guitar-heavy "Fire Bomb" all offer subtle clues as to how she's feeling: "Your love was breaking the law, but I needed a witness / So wake me up when it's over, it don't make any difference," she coos through "Cold Case Love."

Much of the credit has to be given to her collaborators particulary with brings a touch of sweetness and complements Rihanna's soft side on "Photographs." Rihanna easily shifts to her inner heavy-metal side with "Rockstar 101," on which she's accompanied by every one's go-to guitarist, Slash.

But if anything's meant for Brown, it's the soaring, gut-wrenching "The Last Song," the album's outro which may also go down as Rihanna's most overlooked, artistic piece of work yet.This album is not, however, the confessional many thought it might have been. In fact, Rihanna delves into a host of other topics and issues including the triple-take worthy "Te Amo," which follows a female suitor's unsuccessful attempts for the singer's affections atop a swaying, Latin beat. "I'm all for feeling the love, but I don't feel that way," Rihanna pleads as the song's bridge fades. Be it the young singer's first foray into lyrically exploring her sexuality or simply a not-so-subtle round of homophobia, "Te Amo" proves about as earnest in its replay value as Rihanna's unrequited love.

Though Rated R is not nearly as commercially viable or even as accessible as her past three records, the album offers a taste of experimental production value-a distinction that may not make itself apparent until years down the line. Aside from that, anyone looking for the escape from the daily doldrums that much of Rihanna's earlier music provided, look elsewhere.
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on 14 November 2009
Yes, Rihanna's style this time around, sonically and physically, is darker, raw, edgy and explicit. Yes there are those that are saying she's trying too hard, is now trying to be some sort of gothic rocker chick, but this is all clearly ignorance. If you appreciate artistic development, if you appreciate growth, this is the album for you. This is by far her best album to date (in my opinion) and I see 'Disturbia' from the Good Girl Gone Bad re-release as being the perfect introduction to her new sound and image. The album features production from The Y's (new production team Justin Timberlake is a part of),, upcoming UK act Chase & Status, Polow da Don, Ne-Yo and The-Dream with Tricky Stewart. The album is explicit, yes, and I was shocked at first to hear her say the f word, and mother f, but it fits with the whole vibe. She is maturing and developing into a true artist. She could've went with another GGGB and been considered a generic sellout, but she chose to progress, and progress she has. I'll definitely be buying this album when it's out, and I've just ordered Good Girl Gone Bad since I don't have a physical copy yet. The tracks on this are catchy, deep, raw and artistic. If you like tight production, great vocals and clever writing, and of course..Rihanna, then this is the album for you. Definitely in my top 5 of 2009, and I've loved at least 30 new albums this year. I've not included a track by track review or a favourite track note, because I love every song.
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VINE VOICEon 7 December 2009
A new direction for Rihanna and once you get over the swearing its a great album. Russian Roulette and new single Wait Your Turn are both obvious single-release choices, other standout tracks are Hard (which has shades of 4Minutes by Madonna); Photographs Ft Will.I.Am; and Te Amo which is a really cool tune. My personal fave is Cold Case Love, a slow tune which builds to a great climax and co-written by Justin Timberlake .. I can really see her performing this live and hope its going to be released as a single. The lyrics are clearly directed at a certain Mr Brown. There are no bad tracks on here - its a new style but if you liked Good Girl Gone Bad you'll love it
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on 26 October 2012
Rated R is one of my favourite albums from Rihanna to date. There is perhaps but one or two songs that I don't particularly listen to as much as the others, but other than that, each song contains and emits Rihanna's emotion so well, displaying it with anger and helplessness to the point where we question what Rihanna's mood is? Is it anger, or has she completely given up on love? These questions arise with every listen, and you can't help but feel so connected to the lyrics and the overall ambience of the songs. I must admit, when I first heard it, I did wonder why Rihanna had completely remade herself and her music, but now I don't question it at all. This album is one of a superb achievement that I can not fault it any way except it's only just one album. I want more!

"Russian Roulette" is a powerful and haunting experience when one listens to it, contrasting with the magnificent and teasing "Rude Boy", "Rockstar 101" and "Wait Your Turn", and the helpless love of "Photographs" and "Stupid in Love". My favourite tracks on the album has to be "Te Amo", "Cold Case Love" and "The Last Song", which happens to be the last three tracks on the album: a great build up and left the best songs until last - PERFECT! "Cold Case Love" is the highlight of this album: a long track that builds and builds to phenomenal euphoric feeling that leaves you questioning life, pondering on what is normal and just wanting more.

The fact that most people find this to be her weakest album, I believe is because there are not floor-jamming, butt-kicking, dance-all-night pop tracks that she displays as in "Pon de Replay", "SOS", "Umbrella", "Don't Stop The Music", "Shut up and Drive" in her previous albums. I would also imply that because the album is filled with so much emotion and anger, people are more inclined to not listen to it because they don't understand or connect with the lyrics and emotions you're supposed to when listening to such an album. I often listen to this album on winter nights, because the feeling of impending isolation and loneliness mixes with the darkening skies and colder breeze with ease. Grab a glass of wine, turn down the lights and just listen to the album. That is all you need to do to understand. A fantastic achievement Rihanna, which leaves me with the question... can you top this?
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on 24 December 2009
this is the best album she has made so far....a complete u-turn from the first 2 but in a brilliant way. its dark,sexy and edgy.Great vocals with brilliant rock sounds. the explicit lyrics fits in nicely to the tone of the album. you can tell its alot about her personal and emotional journey since the chris brown assault,you feel like you are taking that journey with her listening to some of the lyrics. on a lighter note she even sings about other thats a good girl gone bad. one to definately add to your collection.
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on 3 November 2012
Since being a fan, when she came out in 2005 with Pon De Replay, I find it compelling that she is able to evolve into many different personas and characters in just 4 albums. Rated R without a doubt is possibly Rihanna's best album by far beating the newish albums, 'Loud' and 'Talk that Talk'
The album reminds much of Janet Jackson's 'The Velvet Rope' giving us listeners a more softer, vulnerable and meek side to Rihanna much like Janet's Album.
The stand out tracks on Rated R are:

Fire Bomb - An angry, raw guitar that shows her confessional self, by saying ' You could of been apart of a Masterpiece.' Implying to her highly publicised then boyfriend Chris Brown.

Cold Case Love - A sensational 6 minute listen, with Justin Timberlake's suprisingly excellent production and Rihanna's vulnerable Vocals and clashing drums at the Climax

G4L- Love the fact that she has experimented with different sounds and genres, in this case Dubstep and Trip Hop from Chase and Status

The Last Song - A beautiful outro to an amazing album.

Rated R is her most underrated album without a shadow of a doubt, both Critically and Commerically, she has shown what great writing skills and can produce grim, dark themes and make it enjoyable.
I hope Rihanna will be able to make another album like this soon! 5/5
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