NEW YORK, Jan 29, (Agencies): Rihanna has called her long-awaited new album “Anti” and the name is fitting. The superstar has broken away from club tunes in favor of somber ballads on the toughness needed, and caused, by bad love.
Rihanna’s rollout of her first album in more than three years also ran “anti” to conventional wisdom on music promotion.
She signed a multimillion-dollar deal with Samsung which in November unveiled a site for its smartphones to build anticipation for “Anti,” which landed with a comparative sputter late Wednesday more than two months later.
The Barbados-born singer, whose R&B and dance pop has made her one of the 21st century’s best-selling artists, is making her eighth album available exclusively for the first week on Tidal, the streaming site led by rap mogul Jay Z in which she holds a stake.
Rihanna put out a first single on Wednesday — “Work,” a collaboration with star rapper Drake set to tropical house, the light-feeling electronica genre that has emerged in the past year as a top trend in dance music.
The songs lyrically delve into the notoriously complicated romantic life of the 27-year-old, who finds herself alternating between empowerment and emotionally numbness.
On “Needed Me,” a mid-tempo ballad characteristic of the album, Rihanna warns a lover not to “get it twisted” as he tries to “fix your inner issues with a bad bitch.”
“You needed me / To feel a little more and give a little less / Know you hate to confess,” she sings.
Rihanna makes an unexpected choice for a cover with “Same Ol’ Mistakes,” picking not a classic but a song released just last year by the Australian psychedelic rockers Tame Impala that explores how difficult it can be to turn a new personal page.
Rihanna broke into the music industry while just a teenager after she was discovered by the American producer Evan Rogers when he was vacationing in Barbados.
After her 2005 debut, she put out albums almost annually for the next seven years and has triumphed commercially, becoming the only artist ever to sell more than 100 million singles digitally.
Meanwhile, Rihanna has released her much anticipated new album, “ANTI,” for free for 24 hours on her website.
A limited number of “ANTI” downloads were available for free on the pop star’s website Thursday. The album was also available on the Tidal streaming service, which Rihanna co-owns with Jay Z and other musicians.