Whether it was the studded leather costumes or the songs laced with emotions heavier than a tanker's anchor, the release of last year's "Rated R" gave the music-verse a very jaded Rihanna.
One that most didn’t want to accept.
Today, as RiRi launches her fifth studio album "Loud," it's clear that the beauty has blasted through those confining castle walls of emotion and she now finds herself frolicking in technicolor fields as she exposes the world to a gorgeous new fantasyland of freedom.
These 11 new songs are an escape from the overly dark “Rated” tracks like “Fire Bomb” and “Cold Case of Love.” With cameos from her pals Eminem ("Love The Way You Lie Pt.2"), Nicki Minaj ("Raining Men") and Drake ("What's My Name"), Rihanna laces each track with the fun and frivolity we love from her, yet found M.I.A. on the last disc.
She demands the clouds to part with each "nah nah nah" uttered, she licks each wound with hearty bass lines and her land of funk is totally rediscovered by the time track 11 winds up. Leaving the vulnerable Rihanna in the dust has allowed the 22-year-old to create a new land where she is queen and the people are free to dance their butts off until they drop.
But Rihanna's most important accomplishment on "Loud" lied in locating that line between acceptable emotional outpouring and oversharing. She continues to pull back the curtain on her audio soul, but does so in a much more palatable way.
Last night PopWrap was invited to check out Rihanna in Times Square as she took the stage for MTV’s new countdown show “The Seven.” With each hip thrust and booty dip our hearts grew in ways the Grinch wouldn’t believe ... Rihanna was back. Check out her performance of "What's My Name" from the event below and grab her luscious energetic album “Loud” out everywhere today.
Photo: Scott Gries/MTV