One of the great things about Rihanna as a performer is that an album like this, one that challenges the listener’s perception of her both as an artist and as a singer (especially on tracks like “Higher” and “Love on the Brain”), can sound both like something completely unexpected from her, as well as exactly what you’d expect of her. The monster singles are there, with “Work” and “Kiss It Better” emerging as some of her most arresting, adventurous mainstream hits, while other songs like “Woo” and “Desperado” instead focus on her sonic playfulness and willingness to expand and challenge herself. This really is a revelatory album for her, as her work continues to grow and mature without losing itself to self-seriousness and arrogance.
Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)
You can watch the video for “Work” here: