- Obama ‘birther’ theories float, as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- U.S. drone faulted for killing 14 ‘innocent civilians’ at Yemen wedding
- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
MUSIC REVIEWS: Rihanna’s ‘Unapologetic,’ Kid Rock’s ‘Rebel Soul’
Like clockwork, Rihanna rings in the holiday season with “Unapologetic,” her seventh album in seven years.
What is there to be said that hasn’t been said before? A master at keeping herself current, Rihanna puts together another mixed bag of dance tracks, R&B tunes and reggae-flavored pop songs with help from this year’s hippest producers. She pads the guest list with cameos by old friends (Eminem) and new faces (Pluto), and she turns to top-tier studio wizards including David Guetta and Benny Blanco, hoping to keep “Unapologetic” from sounding like recycled parts.
The thing is, modern music doesn’t get more recycled than this. “Unapologetic” is the sound of a musician running out of new ideas and turning to old ones instead, hoping they’ll look different after they’re ground up and reassembled into new shapes. They don’t.
The album’s saving grace is a cameo appearance by Mikky Ekko, a poppy, avant-garde songwriter who isn’t even popular enough to have his own Wikipedia page. The two sing in unison on the surprisingly moving “Stay,” a tender ballad on an album filled with calculated club bangers. The Eminem duet doesn’t fare half as well, though, and the predictable appearance by Chris Brown — Rihanna’s controversial ex-boyfriend, still in the hot seat after assaulting her in 2009 — feels like a cheap move.
“You’ll always be mine,” Rihanna promises her ex on “Nobody’s Business,” a song that borrows its title and melody from Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel.” Brown chimes in during the next verse, telling the whole world that his relationship with Rihanna is nobody’s business. It is, though, isn’t it? If these two insist on setting their tumultuous relationship to music, and the resulting song is deliberately placed on the biggest album of the fall, doesn’t that make it our business?
That’s the biggest problem with “Unapologetic.” It isn’t the lack of big, hook-laden pop songs like “We Found Love.” It’s the sinking feeling that Rihanna, the unfortunate victim of an abusive relationship, is exploiting the whole debacle. Later, when she sings, “You took the best years of my life,” you have a hard time believing her.
Kid Rock may be getting older, but he still isn’t interested in growing up. On “Rebel Soul,” the 40-something rocker indulges his frat-boy whims like a college undergrad, singing about women, beer, guns and hot tubs in a voice that’s as rough as a Sunday morning hangover.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- House budget bargain faces Senate filibuster; Republicans line up to oppose
- Broncos-Chargers game ends with several stabbings
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Kim Jong-un consolidating power or losing grip on North Korea's military
- Inside China: Ukraine gets nuclear umbrella
- Echoes of Cold War in Ukraine as Russia tries to rein in former Soviet satellites
- PRUDEN: The last living witnesses; they wore the yellow star and remember the Nazi terror
- American missing in Iran was CIA operative who went rogue - Washington Times#pagebreak#pagebreak
- Medicare pays full price for half-empty vials of medicine
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow