Rated R - Rihanna

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Whether the album seems ridiculous or spectacular (or both), Rihanna's complete immersion in the majority of the songs cannot be disputed. That is the one thing that is not up for debate.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Rihanna has transformed her sound and made one of the best pop records of the year.
  5. 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.
  6. Much of its music is a dull wash, difficult to differentiate even across several plays, and not especially compelling outside of the real-life drama the singer examines and exploits. The exceptions are songs that have nothing to do with the Brown affair.
  7. We have an album that opts to cater for the variety of fans that flock to support Rihanna in her time of trouble. It's a diverse work. But this so happens to be its biggest setback.
  8. 50
    Rated R, Rihanna's first album since her brutal confrontation with ex-boyfriend Chris Brown, wants to recast her as a searing woman scorned. It doesn't quite take.
  9. In the absence of a song as undeniable [as 'Umbrella'], they try a number of approaches, with varying success.
  10. 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.
  11. Rihanna has released a flawed album that may shrink under the weight of her biography, but it also succeeds when approached more directly, superficially.
  12. Rihanna is at her most adventurous, and while we're not completely convinced that all the wailing hard rock guitars suit her, the aggression makes sense within the context of the album.
  13. When Rated R ends on an unresolved chord, the sentiment carries over into Rihanna's pop persona. Let's hope that this doesn't mean she's about to back off and start working on her All for You.
  14. What works as therapeutic psychodrama for the singer doesn't always work quite as well as pop music, which, from the shiny surfaces, it's clear everyone here is still striving for.
  15. It's a bleak, adamant album that's both brave and skillful.
  16. A complex and fascinating portrait of a young woman's emotional process after enduring abuse.
  17. Throughout this emotional maelstrom of an R&B album, Rihanna keeps finding gripping new ways to transform regret into a kind of threat.
  18. Jun 24, 2011
    You are way, way better off not projecting any kind of emotional subtext onto this record.
  19. Rihanna may have been a good girl gone bad on her 2007 album, but on her new one, she's a good girl gone bad-ass.
  20. It is very dense and maybe needed more melodies to help digest it all. Adding to that, the production at times lets her down, ranging from excellent to average, with a couple of songs that could well have worked better as skits.
  21. Nothing else on the album can top 'Russian Roulette,' but they certainly complement it, and make its startling conclusion feel sadly inevitable.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 295 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 66 out of 83
  2. Negative: 12 out of 83
  1. JarvsH
    Nov 24, 2009
    Her best album so far, and probably the best pop record in years.
  2. MIkeB.
    Nov 30, 2009
    This is what happens when artists are able to take more control over their music. She gave us something different. Her bajan accent is in full force and she plays with her lower register like no one I've ever heard. When I first listened to it I immediately compared it to her last album GGGB. But I realized there is no comparison, these are two completely different albums, though she still gives us enough of what she has done so well in the past. Now I can't stop listening to it! I'm obsessed! I hope everyone gives Rated R a chance and listen to every track before you write it off. RiRi is back but she definitely shed her little miss sunshine image and grew up. Best album of 2009 for sure! So everyone needs to stop buying all of these Number 1's and re-released albums!! SUPPORT RIHANNA!! => My Top 5 Songs: 1. Cold Case Love 2. Te Amo 3. Russian Roulette 4. Rude Boy 5. Photographs. Full Review »
  3. Aug 20, 2011
    After the 'Good Girl Gone Bad' era, I was expecting a huge record from Rihanna. Rated R was a letdown. The ballads are sappy and seemed to be pulled from Celine Dions reject pile. Not good at all. Full Review »