The release of Talk That Talk on November 18th 2011 proved yet again Rihanna’s dominance over the pop music scene. With three of her singles entering at the top of the Billboard 100 and the overall album debuting at number one in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Austria, Norway and Switzerland; Rihanna proved, yet again, the enduring power of the ‘Bad Girl’.
Between NME calling it a ‘so-so album’ and Rolling Stone praising it as Rihanna’s ‘most assured’ album to date; its clear that in true, rebellious fashion- Rihanna divided opinion with her sixth album. Despite it’s definitive and consistent tone, this album misses the sense of fun from Loud and the more linear, cohesive journey of Rated R. In spite of this, Rihanna manages to infuse Dance-Hall dynamics with a myriad of styles including hip hop, house and the electronic influences that ultimately colour and shape Talk that Talk.
With Rated R selling 181,000 copies in its first week and Loud selling 207,000, Rihanna’s highest until Apologetic, Talk That Talk‘s stance in the middle with 198,000 illustrates an attempt to mix the aggressive, brutally honest tones of Rated R with the upbeat more conventionally ‘Pop’ stylings of Loud.
Rihanna’s success is evident, with Talk That Talk achieving triple platinum status. This is largely due to enduring singles like ‘We found Love’ and ‘You Da One’ which, along with ‘Where Have You Been’ and ‘Cockiness’, which carry the album as a whole. Having said that, Rihanna’s permanent relevance makes 5 years feel like 5 minutes with more than half of Talk That Talk‘s track list still in circulation today.
Check out a classic song from the album below: