Anti is, as other reviewers have stated, is full of chilled-out, smoky, post-party jams that have more of a vibe of “let’s fuck, smoke & (maybe) love after clubbing” versus solely “let’s turn up at the club.” As a person who’s, admittedly, not the biggest Rihanna fan, I came in with tempered expectations–especially after the ho-hum drop which was “Work.” I even debated whether or not I should even review it (didn’t want her fans to get in my mentions if it sucked).
However, the chilled-out vibes actually work and showcase Rihanna as an evolving artist–even if she doesn’t have all the kinks out to crank that classic album that’d turn even the harshest critic to a member of the Navy. From the sex-guitar-laced “Kiss it Better” (it feels like Rihanna channeling Prince with a bit of Toni Braxton for good measure, especially with lines like “man, fuck your pride…just take it on back”) and “Yeah, I Said It” to the pseudo-lonely-hearts anthem “Desperado” to the haunting, electro-tinged, suite-esque song “Same Ol’ Mistakes,” Rihanna flexes her vocals, maturing songwriting/maturing songwriting team, and delivers a pretty solid album.
Anti, in some ways, is Rihanna’s Take Care mixed with Frank and Yeezus. It’s moody, reflective and has several moments that scream “classic in the making.” It’s very eclectic and keeps you engaged, sonically. Plus, it features DJ Mustard production that sounds like he’s been hanging out with Illangelo versus E-40 (not that hanging with 40 is a bad thing, of course). But, for one reason or another, perhaps because of the eclecticism, all the pieces don’t connect all the time. However, if Rihanna continues this evolution, the Navy will get their own Back to Black before long.
TL;DR: Good not epic. Don’t come for me, Navy.
Final Verdict: Stream then buy