“I got to do things my own way darling. Will you ever let me? Will you ever respect me? NO. Do things my own way, darling! You should just let me. Why you ain’t ever let me grow.” – from Consideration,by Rihanna & SZA
After a long 3 years, the Rihanna Navy rejoiced everywhere once the long awaited ANTi was released to the world on January 28th 2016. Unfortunately, it was leaked hours before the time it was supposed to be released..but it was a TIDAL exclusive for a week and 1.4 million copies of the standard edition of the album were given to her fans (and undercover fans,) for no charge. The roll out for this album was beyond scary for fans of Rihanna, but the head of the Navi did not seem to care after it was certified platinum one day after it’s release. I’ll say this: IT WAS WORTH IT!
My baby girl wanted to create timeless songs, and you have them on ANTi, if you’re asking me. The album opens up with Consideration, which is a 90s trip hop inspired track..telling record labels “F you, for not allowing artists to grow!” With Rihanna creating her own label, which is called Westbury Road Entertainment (w/ future albums being distributed through Roc Nation,) it’s quite obvious to see that her former label Def Jam didn’t give Rihanna the creative freedom she desired.
The illustrious masterpiece goes into the 4/20 themed interlude, “James Joint.” “I’d rather be smoking weed, whenever we breathe…every time you kiss me. Don’t say that you miss meeeee. Just come get me,” is played through a Stevie Wonder inspired track that could be heard at your local hookah shop or hippie party. Next comes the fan favorite “Kiss it Better.” KIB is easily one of Rihanna’s best songs because it’s a ballad that makes you want to call your worst lover back. ” KIB is obviously inspired by the late great Prince, and the video that accompanies the song gives you the vibe of an 80s joint. The 9 week chart topper “Work” comes on with a simple from one of my favorite songs ever (If you were here tonight by Alexander O’Neal). Work features Drake, which is her musicial soulmate..and they create easily one of the best hit singles of 2016.
ANTi goes on to the gems of the track list such as “Desperado,” The Weeknd sounding track Woo (which he also co-wrote,) the female empowerment anthem Needed Me, and the sensual Timbaland produced “Yeah I said It.” It’s Rihanna’s cover of New Person, Same Old Mistakes by Tame Impala (shortened to Same Ol Mistakes..that is the highlight of ANTi, period. Although the production is pretty much the same as the original song, Rihanna’s angelic vocals on this psychedelic track wins me over.
In what is considered one of her best songs vocally, “Love on the Brain” is my favorite song on the album, hands down. LOTB is very soulful, and gives you doo wop pop vibes. When the album was released, fans stated they got an Amy Winehouse and Etta James vibe from this song, and I couldn’t agree more. Rih gets a lot of flack for her vocal capabilities, so for this song to showcase her vocal growth, is just amazing to see as a day one fan. Also, go see her on her ANTi World Tour. She perfoms LOTB with so much emotion, & gives it her all. The album goes into the “I’m drunk so I’m going to sing on my ex’s voicemail track Higher..which was sampled by the soulful strings! (Homegirl has been studying on her old school, and I am here for it!)
The standard album closes with the sad, bone-chilling ballad “Close to You,” which is another favorite of mine. For this song alone, Rihanna deserves so many grammys. Beautifully written song.
The deluxe edition closes out with Goodnight Gotham, Pose and the amazing saucy “Sex with Me.” LOVE those tracks. LOVE this album. If you don’t think ANTi is one of the best albums of 2016, you’re delusional. ANTi is literally going against the means of what is expected of Rihanna. This era may have begun spotty, but this album is proof that Rihanna is here to stay. ❤️