The Record Music Magazine
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RIHANNA - GOOD GIRL GONE BAD – UNIVERSAL MUSIC
Record Rating: ***

RIHANNA - GOOD GIRL GONE BAD Rihanna’s Umbrella was the biggest selling single of the summer, refusing to budge from the top of the singles charts worldwide and making UK chart history by holding onto #1 for ten weeks, making it the most successful single in over a decade. Although Jay-Z apparently ‘stepped in’ to lend Rihanna a helping hand, he didn’t really do much and she could’ve skipped the whole “Li’l Miss Sunshine, Rihanna where you at?” intro and hogged the limelight for herself, as these 4 and half minutes are all Rihanna’s magic.

Starting the record off with this track, though, might’ve been a mistake as it sets the expectations sky high for the rest of the record. The songs that follow aren’t bad, but it still feels like the opening act is following the grand finale, as Umbrella is clearly the masterpiece, and Rihanna could’ve saved the best for last.

Push Up On Me and Don’t Stop The Music could’ve been plucked straight out from the synth-pop 80s, with the latter having the Michael Jackson “Mamasay, mamasa, mamakusa” chant from Wanna Be Startin’ Something through the entire song. The somewhat immature lyrics in songs like Shut Up And Drive ~ “The engine’s ready to explode. So start me up and watch me go,” ~ bring us back to the reality that Rihanna is just 19. Ne-Yo manages to play a much more credible role than Jay-Z on this album, playing the Rihanna-smitten crooner on the ‘SWV’ 90’s slow jams style track Hate That I Love You. Rehab is the most mature track she’s ever done, with her 19-year-old voice sounding better than ever before as she manages to shock us old folks by chanting through almost adult lyrics like, “Anytime you needed me I’d be there, it’s like you were my favorite drug.” The title track, also the final track on the album, is consistent and continues the mature vocal trend seen through the album…but it ain’t no Umbrella (sing with me now) “Ella, ella, ay-ay-ay-ay-ay.”

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