Rihanna’s rise to the top of the popular music industry has been rapid, to say the least. She’s been in the public eye for roughly the same amount of time as “Doctor Who” has been back on air in the UK. She’s been very productive, too, for a pop artist, producing an album a year over the last three years. In 2005, Robyn Rihanna Fenty, to give her her full name, released her debut CD, “Music of the Sun”, the songs on which reflect her native Barbados. This record spawned the first two of - currently - a total of ten singles, “Pon de Replay” and “If it’s Lovin’ that You Want”. These two tracks would reappear, in new versions, on the end of her second album, “A Girl Like Me” (2006), presumably to help sales! A further four singles were lifted from this release; “SOS”, which samples Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love”; the beautifully-understated “Unfaithful”, written by R‘n’B singer Ne-Yo and with whom she would later collaborate on her third full-length release; the less successful “We Ride”; and “Break it Off”, featuring Sean Paul, meaning this disc actually contains a total of six singles and thus borders, already at such an early stage in her career, on a greatest hits package!!
One year later and Rihanna’s ascension is complete! I would go so far as to say Miss Fenty is now bigger than either Britney or Kylie. They’ll be battling it out next month for chart domination but I can’t see either beating the phenomenal success of Rihanna’s lead single, “Umbrella”, from her third album “Good Girl Gone Bad” (2007). Again, this release contains four singles. They are the aforementioned ultra-successful “Umbrella” featuring Jay-Z, which opens the album; “Shut Up and Drive”, the fifth track on the CD; the funkier “Don’t Stop the Music”, which is the disc’s third song; and, finally, sixth track “Hate That I Love You”, a duet with Ne-Yo, is a ballad accompanied by a clever little video with a twist in its tale. This type of R‘n’B isn’t usually my thing but, on this occasion, Rihanna’s third album seems to be infused with a rock sensibility which makes it more agreeable to my ear! I’ve posted the promos that accompany these four tracks in a “Rihanna Special” on my Jukebox, currently at the bottom of the front page, together with a slightly distorted performance of second single “Shut Up and Drive”, from the “Late Show with David Letterman”, directly above it. Hope you enjoy listening to some of the songs from what will probably end up being voted album of the year!!