After a barrage of false tips, producer frustration turning to Twitter fingers, and a convoluted Samsung campaign featuring sketchy chambers that nightmares are made of, Rihanna has, at long last, graced us with her eighth studio album ANTI.
As if this day couldn’t be more glorious, the album is free. ANTI is currently streaming exclusively on Tidal. However, there is a limited quantity of free album downloads available on rihanna.tidal.com. And by "limited quantity," that pretty much means everyone will have a free copy by nightfall. As we speak, Dropbox links and zip files carrying the precious ANTI cargo are spreading through the Internet like so much digital wildfire.
In lieu of giving a complete rundown of the stressful road to ANTI (reliving all the cockteasery of this album will just age everyone), here’s a brief timeline of this week's events leading up to today’s drop:
MONDAY, JANUARY 25 (9:22 a.m. EST)
Rihanna tweets that she’s listening to ANTI while, simultaneously, shaming everyone’s headphone game with her $9,000 Dolce & Gabbana set, complete with a Swarovski crystal and pearl encrusted crown.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27 (8:00 AM EST)
Rihanna drops her lead single "Work" featuring Drake. The track goes straight to No. 1 because, obviously.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27 (5:50 PM EST)
ANTI’s track list is "leaked" on Tidal. A quick-fingered Twitter user, clearly doing God’s work, takes a screengrab of the 13 song titles before Tidal pulls it down.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27 (11:22 PM EST)
Rihanna finally delivers ANTI, and all is right with the world.
As one could surmise from the leaked track list, Rihanna’s previous singles "Bitch Better Have My Money," "American Oxygen," and "FourFiveSeconds" are absent from the final album, as well they should be. ANTI, as it stands now, is like a clean slate from all the buzz of before.
Rihanna slips into a synthed-out groove for the majority of the album. The beats hit hard, often over ripping guitar riffs, but there’s a downtempo vibe that will redefine what it means to be a "club banger." However, something curious happens by the ninth track—there’s a noticeable shift in sound that carries through the remainder of the album.
"Same Ol’ Mistakes" is a reimagining of Australian rock band Tame Impala’s "New Person, Same Old Mistakes":
An acoustic ballad follows with "Never Ending," which has a very similar feel, and chord progression, as Dido’s 1999 hit "Thank You":
"Love On The Brain" and "Higher" just may be the stand-out tracks on ANTI. There’s a soulful, doo-wop treatment that’s an unlikely, but definitely welcomed, vehicle for Rihanna’s searingly raw vocals.
ANTI closes with the soft piano track "Close To You," a song that will deliver a truckload of feels straight to your heart—partly because of the lyrics recounting love lost, but mainly because this is the end of the ANTI saga.
Rihanna, it was all well worth the wait.