Rated R - Rihanna
Rated R Image
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 290 Ratings

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  • Summary: The fourth studio album for the R&B singer from Barbados features Slash, will.i.am, and Young Jeezy as guest artists.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. A complex and fascinating portrait of a young woman's emotional process after enduring abuse.
  2. Nothing else on the album can top 'Russian Roulette,' but they certainly complement it, and make its startling conclusion feel sadly inevitable.
  3. Despite the abundance of male influence on the record, from ex-boyfriend to songwriters to producers to mentors, Rihanna makes the sound her own, and fights back.
  4. Rated R rarely delivers Top 40 fodder. Instead, it's a raw, often unsettling portrait of an artist who is, she insists, no longer a Girl at all.
  5. Rihanna has released a flawed album that may shrink under the weight of her biography, but it also succeeds when approached more directly, superficially.
  6. Based on Rated R, Rihanna's artistic aspirations are currently loftier than her abilities. Then again, her tenacity in the face of the unimaginable public humiliation this year is beyond brave.
  7. She brings hints of techno, R&B, disco, hard rock, hip-hop, and pop-punk to this album, but rather than feeling like a masterpiece, it just feels undercooked.

See all 21 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 66 out of 83
  2. Negative: 12 out of 83
  1. Nov 26, 2010
    10
    Rated R is the best, most fascinating and artistic album of Rihanna. Before, I found Rihanna as trying too hard to be edgy in the album but all of her songs are good and coherent. The theme of revenge, dark, and being betrayed is present in all tracks. For me, the album doesn't care the chart performance because it is not appealing to the audience. Expand
  2. Oct 24, 2012
    10
    Still her best and most highest quality album. Rated R got something special and stands out from her other albums. Maybe, troubles in her life in those times made this work great. My score is addressed not only to the album, but to this era and image too. Rated R is good from opener to the end. Every song isn't useless and every song is enjoyable and listenable, containing difference to one another and got some interesting processing. 'Mad House' is steamy, 'Hard' & 'Rockstar 101' are agressive, 'Wait Your Turn' & 'G4L' are uprising, 'Russian Roulette' & 'Te Amo' are soft, 'Rude Boy' & 'Cold Case Love' are rhythmic, and final song is like a freedom from darkness of the album. But not looking for this diversity, the whole album sounds integral. This is a case how a brief rock'n'roll influence and dubstep/electronic elements can make sound pop music worth. Expand
  3. Nov 21, 2011
    10
    This album is a work of art. None of her albums were able to beat this one. Loud was a commercial album, made just for selling. Not that I don't like it, but it's true. Talk That Talk is an amazing album, but Rated R still reigns. Expand
  4. Jun 2, 2011
    9
    Finally revealing the edginess we've long hoped for, here is the Barbadian pop star's most creative effort and she needn't it be radio-friendly to be a success. Her own Velvet Rope and vengeful masterpiece. Expand
  5. Jun 4, 2011
    8
    Rihanna recovers from the infamous Chris Brown-incident with an album that is both depressing, emotional and moving as well as fierce, dangerous and edgy.

    Some were shocked to find out what had become of their favorite Barbadian party girl. But as Beyoncé had Sasha Fierce, Rihanna is willing to show off her alter ego as well. Question is, was it too early to let the new Rihanna Chris Brown has unintentionally created take over, or is it appropriate for the R&B princess to let her dark side get the best of her, considering what happened? The urban superstar is chaotic and immersive at times, as proven by the unappealingly scary Mad House. As well, she appears to be trying to hard to maintain an edgy and dangerous tone and image. The immelodious mess that is G4L proves my point, as goosebumps run down one's arms when Rihanna's voice sneers along minor tones and Auto-Tune blurs the chaos together. Same goes for the overly melodramatic The Last Song in which the Barbadian singer's emotional reminiscing takes down the quality of her sound. I would almost note that RiRi's voice doesn't seem to fit for weeping ballads, if it wasn't for the slight brilliance that Stupid In Love weighs in. Although this track's sadness is annoying at times, the lyrical tone and calypso-resembling underbeats level up the track to that of an enchanting break-up song. The beats are continued in almost cheerful, late-night lesbian experience hinting song Te Amo and the intruiging Cold Case Love which appears to be a slower version of Stupid in Love. Cold Case Love is by far one of the best tracks on the album, striking at Chris Brown lyrically several times. The song delivers a litteral CB-reference once (''What you did to me was a crime"), then continues to ultimately deny the obvious ("Your love was breaking the law") by changing the subject from physical to emotional harm, finally combining the two neatly. But Rihanna's producers and management have made sure their cash cow wouldn't drown in a sea of despair completely by nailing down a few playful, tough and upbeat songs. These songs, however, prove incapable of changing the album's dark overall tone. The happiest tune found is the #1 hit Rude Boy, an obvious musical reference to seventies and eighties feminism (think Grace Jones as well as Madonna and Blondie) and a lyrical anthem to one-night stands, stating Rihanna might be hurt and broken down, but is still dirty and down with the boys. This message is continued in the enthralling Fire Bomb, which would've been a highlight if it hadn't been for the annoying hardrock underbeat which starts the song. By far the best track on the album is the phenomonal Hard, for which RiRi collaborated with Young Jeezy. The track suggests fire, fierceness and danger, as well as an enormous ego and arrogance on the level of Kanye West. But let's not forget the words of that other R&B miracle, Beyoncé, who once sang: "Some call it arrogant, I call it confident." As long as Rihanna keeps her ego down in real life, the arrogance of Hard mesmerizes and thrills to the max. But that was it for the good news. The will.i.am collaboration Photographs is nice at first sight, but fails to impress after careful relistening. And the one who penned down the awful Russian Roulette for Rihanna, should be fired! Rihanna's voice, coming deep from her throat, transforms this drag to something that's even worse. Accompanied by that horrible music video, the choice of Russian Roulette as the album's lead single was what discouraged me to buy Rated R in the first place.
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  6. Dec 3, 2011
    6
    Normally, I would stray away from over-produced pop-stars, but this album has personality. Even if it's a very dark side that's interesting. Great record. Expand
  7. Jul 7, 2011
    0
    Aside from a couple songs, this is pretty boring with songs like Stupid In Love, Rockstar 101, Wait Your Turn. Not her best. My favorite is Te Amo & Firebomb Expand

See all 83 User Reviews