Time Could Never Stop Me
Also a line from the opening number on her new album ANTi, the title of this post is a statement accurately made in the story of the incomparable pop artist who is Rihanna, and although it's not my absolute favourite track on the album (it's close), I often feel like “Consideration” connects with me on a deeper level than words can fully express. As our friends from genius tell us, the song is about her attaining artistic freedom and creative control over her career, and I would opine that this liberation is well deserved and long overdue. The track serves as a great way to open an album, especially this one, as it stands apart from anything we've heard from Rihanna in the past.
Her collaborations on this album, as ever, are legendary. From the use of the bass line in Common’s “Be (Intro)” to the cover of Tame Impala’s “New Person, Same Old Mistakes,” Rihanna further cements the wholesome nature of her artistry by embracing, diversifying and complementing the value of existing artworks. Further on the subject of collaboration, the cover art for this album and the singles that preceded it are simply stunning, having been manifested by contemporary experimental artist, Roy Nachum. The lyrical styling of the album (for those who listen to the lyrics) is simply put, yet at times it invokes a deeper, more introspective thought. Rihanna trails triumphantly from the sensational longing in “Kiss It Better” to the unbridled savagery in “Needed Me,” all while keeping grounded by the timeless quality of an unapologetic truth in every word she sings. And if that's not enough, these lyrics have met their perfect match in production. Enlisting the help of hit makers like DJ Mustard, No I.D., Hit-Boy, and more, the finished product becomes completely irresistible.
Having the album certified as platinum in less than a day comes as no surprise. She is the most viewed artist on YouTube, and has quite a few hits in discography. Rihanna is a popular icon of today, which is the greatest version of an icon one could ever hope to be. (Side note: her album being leaked on Tidal is what finally got me to sign up.) What I find so inspiring about this release is that it had been long anticipated by many, and shattered the expectations of most. I remember when I first downloaded the album ‘Currents’ from Tame Impala and fell in love with “New Person, Same Old Mistakes.” I heard so many mixed reviews from people who didn't understand the lyrics or just couldn't go along with it because they didn't know the artist or the genre well enough… then Rihanna did a cover… silence. In fact, I almost named this post “Quiet Down,” which is a line from my favourite ANTi track, “Pose,” and it would have been aptly so since she has become someone who grips the attention of others. My favourite quality in Rihanna -and any artist I ever speak of- is that of an authoritative authenticity. She is who she is, she likes what she likes, and she gets what she wants. Anyone can look at her career and see that she has been dedicated to this moment, and if her journey isn't inspiring, then I don't know what is.
ANTi is undoubtedly one of the best instalments in what what is quickly become an incredibly great time for music and artistic freedom, and I find inspiration in the creative transformation of Rihanna.