Rihanna’s “ANTI”: The Breakdown




One of the most anticipated albums of 2016, ANTi, the eighth studio album by international superstar Rihanna, has finally come to reign down!

Before it’s release, Ri teased fans with snippets and interviews promising to deliver a new much more developed sound. During an interview with MTV she said, “I just wanted to focus on things that felt real, that felt soulful, that felt forever. I wanted songs that I could perform in 15 years.”

Well Rihanna has delivered more than just a new sound on this one, dare I say even, a new sub-genre. She has come to terms with herself, her sound and the future of where it all will go and this is hands down the pivotal album of her career.



1. “Consideration” ft. SZA

There’s always something to be said about an artist’s first track on an album, and Rihanna is here to make a statement with hers. The mechanical beat breaks in and out with her robotic voice  as she opens the song, “I came fluttering in from Neverland / Time can never stop me, no, no, no, no”.  First line, on the first track she’s letting us know – she’s out for something timeless.

Top Dawg Entertainment’s SZA comes in with a beautiful melody breaking through the mechanics of the song (metaphorically, maybe even, the mechanics of her career). Her entrance to the song breaks the tension to propose a solution to Bad Gal later singing, “I got to do things my own way darlin / You should just let me / will you ever respect me? NO.” A sign of what is to come.


2. “James Joint”

First heard in April of last year on 4/20, “James Joint” opens with a slow, heavily synthesized and airy, “I’d rather be smoking weed whenever we breathe”. Hmmm, quite a forthcoming interlude there RiRi. 


3. “Kiss it Better”

This one is a bit different, or rather familiar of a taste. Outside of some productional elements, it has a remembrance of older Rihanna. A good song nonetheless, it doesn’t seem to fit in with Anti


4. “Work” ft. Drake

Really, who would ever complain about a collab between Rihanna and Drake? These two have struck radio-gold yet again with the first single off of the album, “Work”. It’s the “poppiest” song on the list which almost feels like the continuation to the duo’s previous collaboration, “What’s My Name?” in the best way possible. Hopefully we’ll get a Jamaican basement house party for the video. Rihanna and Drake grinding up to “Work”? Yes, please!


5. “Desperado”

If ever there was a perfect runaway song for a bad ass bitch, this song would be it. The song opens, “Desperado / Sittin’ in an old Monte Carlo” as her voice drags through the song, oozing sexiness nostalgic of Salma Hayek wrapped around Antonio Banderas, skin to skin, surviving a shootout in the movie under the same name. The song is the vocalization of a deep inner battle between both the liberation from love and the desire for companionship. She begs for escape desperately, “If you want, we can be runaways / Running form any site of love” but quickly changes to “There ain’t nothing here for me anymore / But I don’t wanna be alone.” 


6. “Woo” ft. Travis Scott

“Woo” is Rihanna’s first collaboration with her rumored boy toy, Travis Scott. A slower, taunting song where she menacingly begs repeatedly, “sin for me”, to which Scott replies “Woo Woo Yeah”. 


7. “Needed Me”

The DJ Mustard produced track brings a complexity to the album. Her voice cries for admittance as she sings “You needed me” throughout the chorus. But by the end of the song, she’s here to make sure you “don’t get it twisted / You was just another n***a 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 / Bet you never could imagine / Never told you you could have it.”


8. “Yeah I Said It”

From the top of the verse, the mid-tempo track is nothing short of bewitching. It’s sultry and slow, a very ‘grown and sexy’ sound for the R&B singer.


9. “Same Ol’ Mistakes”

A cover of indie-band Tame Impala’s “New Person, Same Old Mistakes”, this song is about someone who wants to be able to love; someone who doesn’t quite understand how to feel or accept love as they themselves become someone new. There’s a reason why she chose feature this cover on her highly anticipated album – she both believes that this sound is “timeless”, and understands she too is growing into her new sound.


10. “Never Ending”

An acousitc song that has a very different feel of production from the set that tells a tale of a lost, perception-skewed love, “A drug and a drink / A lost connection / Oh come back to me”.


11. “Love on the Brain”

This is a totally new range for Rihanna as she practices her doo-wop vocals. As you may be able to tell from the title, “Love on the Brain” talks about an inescapable love that is so intoxicating it’s “pulling me apart, this time”. She goes on, “it beats me black and blue but it f**ks me so good/And I can’t get enough/Must be love on the brain/ And it keeps cursing my name”.


12. “Higher”

This is where the R&B singer starts to set the stage for the closing of the album. The 2-minute interlude is reminiscent of late night bar quarrels for love. A raspy and emotional tune that sounds like whiskey and cigars.


13. “Close to You”

This slow, romanticized rhythm has Ri asking to be held, a much different part of her battle in growing into herself as a woman.


14. “Goodnight Gotham”

A familiar song for Rihanna fans, “Goodnight Gotham” is the Florence + the Machine-sampled song featured in Rihanna’s 2015 Dior Secret Garden 4 campaign, “Only If for a Night” (also the previous name of the track).


15. “Pose”

“Pose” is a Hit-Boy produced, ratchet, booty-poppin track that the two are known for creating. It has the same shout and recall feeling of “BBHMM” and she even slightly references Chris Brown’s “Ay Yo” singing, “And I ain’t never like a broke bitch / I don’t never f**k with ya hoe bitch”.


16. “Sex with Me”

Rihanna has GOT IT and on this one she’s letting you know just how good she knows she has it! And when she gives it to you, you’re going to LOVE what she delivers, just make sure not to fall behind. “Sex with me, so amazing / All this all work, no vacation / Stay up off my Instagram, pure temptation / Hit a switch on a fake nigga, like a station / Sex with me, so amazing / Sex with me, so amazing / She knows what she wants, and she’s not there to play any games / You know I got the sauce (sauce), you know I’m saucy / And it’s always wet, a bitch never ever had to use lip gloss on it / I’mma need you deeper than six, it’s not a coffin / We’re not making love, tryna get nasty.”


An honest, and truly liberating album for Rihanna, Anti is a step in a unique and self-proclaimed direction for the artist delivering everything she was looking for, a timeless piece of work.




Images: ABC News


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