Good Girl Gone Bad begins with the Jay-Z assisted infectious first single Umbrella, which finds Rihanna creating an interesting metaphor for her love with the protection of an Umbrella. Although Jay-Z’s verse was unnecessary and the braggadocio he offers proves to be a tad bit annoying, (“We Roc-a-fella, we fly higher than weather, in G-5 or better”), it serves as a cosigning Rihanna’s viability as an artist. The album continues as a non-stop party following Umbrella.
It seems producing a contemporary r&b album of mostly up-tempo songs is the latest trend. Everyone from Beyonce to Ciara has acknowledged that it’s up-tempo and not bland ballads that will garner the most attention. Rihanna follows suit but unlike her contemporaries, her up-tempo tracks pack more punch, bigger beats, and better effects. Push Up On Me is a club track that nods to the 80’s without screaming 80’s, Don’t Stop The Music is a trance inspired dance tune with an unexpected sample from Michael Jackson, Breakin’ Dishes is a volatile track about getting even with a adulterous lover and the dance-rock P!nk inspired Shut Up And Drive all keep the first half of the album an enjoyable upbeat treat.
The ballads do slow the album, Say It and Hate That I Love You featuring Def Jam label mate Ne-Yo are both throw away tracks. Three Timbaland helmed tracks the summertime anthem sex-romp Sell Me Candy, the unapologetic Lemme Get That and the Amy Winehouse rip-off Rehab appear before two more dreary ballads which fare better than the previous two.
The rare and sincere Question Existing is the only personal track on the album and finds her questioning the true intentions of new acquaintances she meets. This track provides a glimpse into Rihanna the person as opposed to Rihanna the artist fans have grown accustomed to. The final song, the ballad and title track Good Girl Gone Bad closes the album. The track’s production is similar to Beyonce’s Irreplaceable and finds Rihanna singing of the outcome of a woman scorned. “It’s easy for a good girl to go bad,” Rihanna croons.
Good Girl Gone Bad is a stark example of Rihanna’s continued growth as an artist. This album is cohesive, light and fun, everything a pop album should be. With the obvious hit singles that are packed onto this great disc, it seems Good Girl Gone Bad will be the album of the summer.