The Power of Rihanna's 'ANTi'
After the much awaited anticipation for her eighth studio album, Rihanna has finally blessed us with ANTi. The album had a three-month promotional campaign that led her fans on a trip into her ANTi diary. Rihanna partnered with Samsung to create an interactive destination, ANTIdiaRY.com, to give her fans a taste of her ANTi dimension. Broken into 8 sequences, this fan adventure included unlocking clues in rooms, watching short films, and listening to audio clips. Unfortunately, ANTi was mistakenly uploaded on Tidal and hidden within minutes; but not before the Navy got a hold of it. Twitterverse went crazy at the news of the leak. It was then released as a free download for Tidal users and Samsung followed by releasing the album for its users as well. By the time Tidal dropped it, I had already listened to "Needed Me" ten times. The leak didn’t do much damage to Rihanna, as the album itself received over a million downloads and 13 million streams in less than 15 hours. Samsung had purchased one million copies of the album in advance to stir the pot. There was a certain limit on the free downloads and then they dropped the deluxe version for purchase on iTunes yesterday. As of yesterday morning, ANTi is already certified platinum by the RIAA.
— RIAA (@RIAA) January 29, 2016
As a fan, I never know what to expect from Rihanna because she switches her sound every album. While ANTi was not your typical album full of club bangers, it definitely satisfied my Rihanna withdrawal. She’s completely changing the vibe from her last album, Unapologetic, which had more of a trap, pop influence. I’m totally here for it. It’s raw, authentic, and makes you want to take a shot of whiskey and sing your heart out.
SZA came through serving real life black girl magic on the album's first song, "Consideration". The harmony of both of their voices is amazing. Riri opens the track saying “I come fluttering in from Neverland. Time could never stop me”. Coming in from Neverland is her way of saying that in a world of super cliché pop-radio sounding music, she’s going to remain herself. This ANTi Society intro theme sets the tone for the rest of the album.
The 2nd track is "James Joint". James Joint is definitely the jam for all the stoner girls that just want to get high with their lover all day. This interlude has a soft melody and its seductive lyrics make it another Navy favorite. It was released last year on 4/21/15 in honor of 4/20. Following is "Kiss Is Better", reminiscent of a 80's rock love song. Rihanna is giving me black Madonna. Featuring a sexy electric guitar, "Kiss It Better" will definitely be in my favorites rotation.
Navy Fun Fact:
She previewed Kiss It Better on Instagram with her guitarist Nuno back in 2014.
phuck wit nuno A video posted by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on
From "Kiss It Better" Riri takes us to "Work"; the fist single off the album featuring Drake. Bringing out her inner island gal and integrating Patios, a dialect used throughout the Caribbean, "Work" makes you want to get up and bust out a wine.
The 5th track "Desperado", sounds like a sexy track off of a Western movie. She talks about her fear of not being alone. The Bonnie and Clyde theme is personified by runaway suggestions with an old lover. Next is "Woo". In this track we catch her talking shit, being cocky, and being Rihanna.
“I’mma fuck it up like you won’t show me something. Run it back like you owe me something.” - Woo
Alongside are background vocals by Travis Scott – I suggest you listen to this song with the volume all the way up.
Side bar: She’s paired up with her rumored lover with a couple major projects including her Creepers PUMA campaign and signed him on to open for her in the ANTi World Tour.
"Needed Me", the 7th track on ANTi, is a song for the female savage and my personal anthem. As one of my followers stated, this track will be used on numerous Instagram captions because Rihanna spoke that real ish.
"You was just another nigga on the hit list. Tryna fix your inner issues with a bad bitch. Didn't they tell you that I was a savage? Fuck your white horse and a carriage." - Needed Me
Boys are not the only ones living that savage life, and Rihanna isn’t afraid to admit that two can play that game. I played this track while kickin' it with one of my past lovers. Tt turned into a super empowering moment for me, but an extremely awkward moment for the poor boy. After the song was over I did a hair flip and dipped. I just really love this song. Savage probs.
"Yeah, I Said It" is so damn sexy. Not all of us are looking for a husband yet and Rihanna doesn’t sound like she is either. Lyrics like “I want you to homicide it” & “Fuck a title” suggests the female savage life and makes me think about sex without commitment.
"Yea, I Said It" leads into "Same Ol’ Mistakes", a cover of Tame Impala’s New Person, Same Old Mistakes. This is another trippy track and another smoke session worthy song thanks to her soothing vocals. Debuting a new soft country rock acoustic sound, is "Never Ending". Although at first it seems as if she’s talking about someone, I think she’s actually talking about herself and her past. The lyrics reveal that she’s disconnected from her true self and is trying to mend her body and soul back to her old self that she loves. The next and 10th track is "Love On the Brain", a story about an abusive love.
“You love when I fall apart, so you can put me together and throw me against a wall." “It beats me black and blue but it fucks me so good” - Love On The Brain
Whether she’s talking about love or life itself, this 1950s inspired song reveals a new soulful sound from Rihanna that we are not used to hearing. Her crescendo proves to the world that Rihanna can in fact sing soul if she wanted to. No surprise that in the next song "Higher", Riri keeps the soulful sound progressing. She had previewed "Higher" to her fans on her Instagram while drunk off of Whiskey at 5 in the morning. I've realize that the more open and honest Rihanna is in her lyrics, the more I resonate with her music. Not being afraid to admit she’s drunk and in love really does something for my soul.
"Close to You" is the final track on the standard edition of ANTi. This is a very honest track about a love that is close but so far away which is very common among today’s relationships. Everyone's trying not to fall in love and catch feelings but Rihanna just can’t help but to love.
The tone of ANTi shifts in "Goodnight Gotham", the first song of three on the Deluxe Version of the album. Some of her best songs are always formatted as interludes and I always wish they were longer. "Goodnight Gotham" is definitely one of those interludes that I want more of. Although Rih isn’t singing on the track, I’ve had it on repeat because the beat is hard as fuck. The Florence & The Machine sample definitely makes me want to wear my sex kitten heels around my house and whip my weave around like a helicopter. The 2nd extended track, "Pose", is yet another track that I want to whip my weave to. I can definitely see people vogue-ing to this song not to mention that all of my gay guy friends are in love with this track already. "Pose" makes you feel like you’re that bitch, and I can’t help but feel it.
"Sex With Me" is the last track on ANTi Deluxe. Leave it to Rihanna to make her final track about embracing her sexual confidence. Through this song, she continues to reassure women that it’s okay to be positive about our intimate relationships--definitely fitting the ANTi society bill.
Growing up with Rihanna and witnessing how over the years she's embraced her feminine prowess is invigorating. She creates music for women like me. A lot of female artists just sing about love or heartbreak and I’m really tired of hearing that social norm. Thank you Rihanna for yet another masterpiece. You can hear how much work was put into this project. Her new soulful passion has led her fans to believe in themselves yet again and for that we love you. #NAVYRDie
Stream or download ANTi on Tidal.