dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Rihanna's Good Girl Gone Bad: 2007's Second Great Pop Album

Back in March, Chart Rigger readers voted Hilary Duff and Rihanna to be the current pop starlets that will likely outlast their contemporaries. Ironically, shortly after, Hilary Duff put out what D'luv called as the first overall great pop album of the year so far...and now comes the second one, from none other than Rihanna. Good Girl Gone Bad is the 19-year-old's third album in as little time as two years, and it's her first one to take serious note of.

Granted, there are two glaring clunkers; "Say It" and "Question Existing," two droll R&B throwaways that could have easily been left off the CD. But almost every other song is surprisingly single-ready and immediately catchy -- a feat that has Good Girl Gone Bad sitting next to Hilary's Dignity on my list of '07's groovy pop sets.

The album is out tomorrow, and, really, I'd advise picking up the whole thing. Otherwise, here are six suggestions for which tracks to download:

"PUSH UP ON ME" - Like Duff's Dignity, this album is covered in honey and dipped in the '80s. "Push Up On Me" contains a sample of Lionel Richie's "Running Through The Night" as it's main melody, layed atop a vintage freestyle-handclap beat. It's produced by J.R. Rotem, who was also behind Rihanna's #1 single, "S.O.S."

"DON'T STOP THE MUSIC" - Good gravy -- it's a bona fide, straightforward dance club track, complete with a stompin' underwater beat that eventually bubbles to the surface in time for the chorus. Again, the '80s are heavily borrowed from, as the song has a loop of the Mama-say, mama-sa, ma-macusa! line from Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," which constantly swirls in the background like a high-speed carousel. Produced by StarGate.

"SHUT UP AND DRIVE" - Rihanna's second single off the album is based on the melody of the verses from New Order's "Blue Monday," and the crunchy guitar riffs are vaguely reminiscent of Blondie's "One Way Or Another." This is gonna be a great summer jam...until we're all sick of it in about a week. Produced by Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken.

"HATE THAT I LOVE YOU" - This duet with Ne-Yo has the same drum pattern as his own hit from last year, "Sexy Love." It's also got the same happy guitar-laden elements of "Irresistible," the recent smash he penned for Beyoncé. Produced by StarGate.

"SELL ME CANDY" - Timbaland is behind three songs on Rihanna's third album, but this is the one where he really works his magic and continues to take pop to a newer, more interesting level than it's been at in recent years. The other of his to check out is "Rehab," which was co-written with Justin Timberlake, and sounds similar to "What Goes Around...Comes Around."

"GOOD GIRL GONE BAD" - Any song whose intro sounds almost note-for-note like Spice Girls' "Mama" -- from the guitar to the Hip-hop beat to the strings -- is a song to slap down 99 cents for! The chorus is a winner, too. Produced by StarGate.

Thankfully, after this album, Rihanna is now a good girl gone better.

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  • At 9:34 PM, Blogger J.Me said…

    Here's what I wrote about Rihanna's new cd on MySpace blog last week. It's eerily similar to what you wrote!

    Who knew that Rihanna, the super cute, super fun gal from Barbados, would end up being one of the saviors of pop music? Hit after infectious hit she has turned out some ultra-catchy, ultra-playful singles. From "Pon De Replay" (which I actually hate/love) to "S.O.S." to "Umbrella" Rihanna has only increased her range and versatility.

    Her newest single, "Shut Up And Drive" is no exception. Starting out like Orgy's cover of New Order's "Blue Monday" the song frolics along at a midtempo pace with crunchy guitars and slick hooks until it comes to it's break beat midsection which throws the song into overdrive. Totally addictive. I'm glad she dropped most of the faux reggae that was "Pon De Replay" and plagued the majority of her first album.

    Her newest album Good Girl Gone Bad is going to be the must listen of 2007. Abandoning all sense of pretentiousness or stiffness Rihanna packs the album with hit after potential hit. "Don't Stop The Music" slyly samples Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Something" without it being overbearing or immediately noticeable. The subtleness of the sample is clever and wicked. Also an immediate standout on the album is "Push Up On Me" which is electro pop at it's finest. Harkening back to the 80's finest pop songs like Frankie Goes To Hollywood's "Relax", Madonna's "Into The Groove" and anything by freestyle girl groups Exposé or Sweet Sensation the song boils with a sense of dancefloor urgency. Her duet with Ne-Yo, "Hate That I Love You" is a simple love song that chugs and churns along at easy flowing pace. "Breakin' Dishes" is a sizzling vengeful sing-a-long that is begging for a scorching hot video. She also worked with Timbaland and Justin Timberlake on a few tracks, including "Rehab" which is sonically like Justin's "...What Goes Around...Comes Around". The title track "Good Girl Gone Bad" isn't what you expect, Rihanna's makes no claims that she wants to ho' it up or skank out like so many young starlets, but rather warns us what may happen if you don't treat a girl right and look out for the signs. The song is a sweet ode to girl power and reminds me of a track from Madonna's American Life period (namely "Nothing Fails"), in that it's a bit folky, electronic, and pop.

    All in all, I think Rihanna has a huge hit album on her hands and it will be the Nelly Furtado Loose of this year.

    The album drops on June 5th, but has leaked early to Peer 2 Peer sites.

  • At 9:16 AM, Blogger J'ason D'luv said…

    Oh, j.me -- likening it to Madonna's American Life? Scathing! Well, maybe Rihanna's album will eventually grow on you...

  • At 1:13 PM, Blogger Yuяi said…

    Totally loving Rihanna's new stuff here!

    I'd agree with ya, D'luvvie, it's one of the best of 2007 so far.

  • At 5:30 PM, Anonymous OrangeBlossomTrail said…

    The UK version also comes as a 'deluxe' edition featuring a whole disc of club remixes too. Some have suggested this is a shrewd marketing ploy to get more pink payments for Rihanna. Others say that the Freemasons & Moto Blanco helped Beyonce & Mary J. Blige to have hits they would otherwise not have had, so this is closely aligned...

  • At 9:16 PM, Blogger Moogaboo said…

    Freemasons remixed Mary J? I missed that one. The Rihanna mixes are mostly groovy, especially the Moto & Blanco of that one. I'm sure I'll remember the name eventually.

    Great review, J. Me!

  • At 1:14 AM, Anonymous Madge's American Life said…

    I do yoga and Pilates and the room is full of hotties.

  • At 1:17 PM, Anonymous Madge's American Life's Leotard said…

    I think OBT forgot to type respectably. Freemasons/Beyonce and Moto Blanco/Mary J Blige.

  • At 3:58 AM, Anonymous Jake said…

    On my part I actually ask you to my site since it is the resource with very nice things to study.Thanks a lot for info.


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