Can Rihanna walk the walk and talk the talk?

There isn’t much to say about Rihanna that hasn’t already been said: She sings some raunchy songs, sex appeal is her main selling point, and, oh yeah, she’s actually pretty talented.

But before her last album, “Loud,” a word that was not usually used to refer to Rihanna was “innovative.” Her songs were generally good, but with a sort of cookie-cutter quality to them. After “Talk That Talk,” innovative is now a pretty safe word to use when referencing the singer.

Rihanna doesn’t take as many chances in “Talk That Talk” as she did in “Loud” (there is no “Man Down” or anything quite that un-Rihanna-like on this album), but she did find the perfect balance between hip-hop, pop and R&B on this album (and even threw a shout-out to Metallica, sampling “Wherever I May Roam” in the song “Red Lipstick” on the deluxe edition).

Overall, however, I found the most impressive aspect of the album was that it is almost exclusively starring Rihanna. The only track with a guest appearance is “Talk That Talk.” In a world where albums are often made or broken by guest appearances, it is a refreshing change of pace to see Rihanna carry herself.

Focus Tracks: “You Da One,” “We Found Love,” “Talk That Talk,” “Cockiness (Love It),”
“Red Lipstick”