Rated R

  • Record Label: Def Jam
  • Release Date: Nov 23, 2009
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 338 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 41 out of 338

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  1. AthG
    Nov 26, 2009
    10
    This is the best album of her career. I love it and it's currently on repeat. It's her own music, she's not trying to be hot, or to get pop hits with this album. She has truly become an artist with this record.
  2. CocoE
    Nov 30, 2009
    8
    This is a nice break from what is on the radio right now. I am so tired of all the dancey club music. Now the warning at the start of this CD serves notice and is true--this CD is not for everyone. This is an aggressive and bold CD. And if you listen to it in context of someone going through a ton of emotions related to a brutal break up, media intrusion etc., it all makes sense. Stand This is a nice break from what is on the radio right now. I am so tired of all the dancey club music. Now the warning at the start of this CD serves notice and is true--this CD is not for everyone. This is an aggressive and bold CD. And if you listen to it in context of someone going through a ton of emotions related to a brutal break up, media intrusion etc., it all makes sense. Stand out cuts: The Last Song, Fire Bomb (this should be a single), Stupid In Love, Cold Case Love, Russian Roulette, Rock Star 101 & Photographs. There are a lot of emotions on display and Rihanna owns them all. This is a better reflection of what she can do as an artist than "Good Girl Gone Bad." You can tell that GGGB was made with radio hits in mind, but that is not the case with this CD. This is one of those rare "I don't give a damn..." CDs that a mainstream artist makes once and awhile. "Fire Bomb" should be the next single. This CD will not do as well on the charts but I hope Rihanna isn't detered from pushing the envelope because of that!!! Rihanna should keep following her heart and eventually, radio will catch up to her. Expand
  3. RubenV.
    Nov 23, 2009
    10
    Rated R is a classic album, overloaded with genuine emotions of an abused superstar.
  4. TimA
    Nov 25, 2009
    9
    Rihanna could have made a blank disc and sold a million records, but she took the time to craft dark pop music that can be both entrancing and scary. I think that ultimately the album delivers, this isn't one for "Umbrella" fans but it's one for those of us that can handle more complex pop. I personally love it.
  5. MichaelH
    Nov 26, 2009
    7
    I was pleasantly surprised with this album. Even if it isn't well written, produced, or for that matter a strong album on it's own, it does represent a lot in it's context. Rihanna co-wrote 9 songs -- a first for her. She also stood as executive co-producer, and did a majority of the styling and creative direction. I think she had something to say, and even if we think I was pleasantly surprised with this album. Even if it isn't well written, produced, or for that matter a strong album on it's own, it does represent a lot in it's context. Rihanna co-wrote 9 songs -- a first for her. She also stood as executive co-producer, and did a majority of the styling and creative direction. I think she had something to say, and even if we think it's sensationalizing her past, it's still making a statement about physical abuse and the emotions that run their gambit subsequently. Of course she hasn't been through the worst a person can go through. But she had to go through it with absolutely no privacy. I think she accomplished something pretty cool, even if she isn't really Rated R. Expand
  6. NadiaM
    Nov 23, 2009
    10
    Awesome Album Rated R!!! Very deep lyrics...moving, thought provoking, brilliant, resilient!!!
  7. VikeyS
    Nov 23, 2009
    9
    Rated R - Rihanna, Review Wow, lots of R's! :) Anyway, back to business! Rated R is the fourth studio album by now pop icon, Rihanna. It is truly her most deep and emotional album. Its jampacked with feelings and damn good music. In the studio she vented her emotions after the media whirlwind she went through after the Chris Brown attack. She has created an amazing album. It brings a Rated R - Rihanna, Review Wow, lots of R's! :) Anyway, back to business! Rated R is the fourth studio album by now pop icon, Rihanna. It is truly her most deep and emotional album. Its jampacked with feelings and damn good music. In the studio she vented her emotions after the media whirlwind she went through after the Chris Brown attack. She has created an amazing album. It brings a whole new meaning to music with the genres which Rihanna continues to bend, twist and mush together creating amazing combinations. We might as well give her her own genre! I give the album 9.2/10 stars, but heres a detailed review of each track. The album starts off with an eery, haunted house like interlude called "Mad House". It is accurate in its warning, heeding "For those of you easily frightened, we suggest you turn around now. But for those that think they can take it, we say - Welcome to the madhouse". Which Rihanna creepily adds "ooooaaaaah come on, come on, come on in". After the 1 and half minute track ends we're introduced to "Wait You Turn." The promo single for the album. It starts off with Rihanna informing us that the wait is ova, she says that a lot. A lot. But it is as enjoyable as hearing her say ella ella ella at the end of embrella. She shows her strong Bajan accent in this song which isn't as near as noticeable in others, she acknowledges her power in the industry as she wavers "Got so much power in my name/I'm such a fucking lady, so you don't have to be afraid". As far as I'm concerned, artists like Gaga, Beyonce and Britney should be afraid - very afraid. You've never heard Rihanna like this before. The beat is very hip hop and RnB, done by Chase & Status who Rihanna says is the foundation for the album. The video is very grainy in black and white. After Wait You Turn(which I will now refer to as WYT), we're treated with the egotastic "Hard" featuring Young Jeezy. If you thought Rihanna was being a tad arrogant in WYT, wait for this. Now the raunchy cover would make you think its about another type of hard, but no, Rihanna is talking about being resilient and tough. Which she obviously is. She exclaims "All up on it, know ya wanna clone it, aint like me, that bitch too phony". The beat has drums and the occasional piano, very odd but very fitting! Rihanna is so hard. This is a surefire hit! The next song is called Stupid in Love. Immediate thoughts are "IS THIS ABOUT CHRIS?!?!?!" I don't know if it is, but I know its a very nice song. Not the best, the lyrical content isn't at the level of the other track's as the chorus is written lackluster "This is stupid. I'm not stupid. Don't talk to me like I'm stupid. I still love you but I just can't do this.. I may be dumb, but I'm not stupid." Could've been written much better, but still is not a bad song by any means. The beat is a piano matching Rihannas softer voice. After such a slower, soft song you're probably surprised and interrupted out of that mood with the next track. Rockstar 101 featuring Slash. Which is of course appropriately titled, as Slash is the guitarist from Guns'N'Roses! The beat is of course electric guitars, and some drums. This album is most definitely Rated R, Rihanna is officially no longer Little Miss Sunshine, as she would not say "Got my middle finger up, I don't really give a f*ck/ So baby take me in, I disobey the law, make sure you frisk me good, check my panties and my bra!" Shes a certified rockstar with a hint of gangsta. Hey baby, shes a rockstar. The next track is the the album's infamous lead single, Russian Roulette. Starts off with a guitar, giving you the idea of another very rock song, but a few seconds later you'll hear a gun's barrel being rolled and an eery heartlike beat. Rihanna uses the game of russian roulette as a metaphor for relationships, having to take risks and just pull the trigger. This is of course to be thought about Chris Brown as well, especially after ABC premiered the video and basically labeled it as "The Chris Brown song!" But if Rihanna made a song about puppies and sunflowers it'd be about Chris Brown because she would just be trying to find her hapy place of course! Any single would've supposedly been about Chris Brown, we don't know if it is or not - and I really dont mind if it is or isn't, its an amazing track. She bravely says "I'm terrified, but I'm not leaving, know that I must pass this test..so just pull the trigger." The video for the song is very new and I love the audacity she has in it! Sets a high bar for the other new videos, some which have already failed to live up to it's greatness. (*cough* Beyonce and Gaga's video phone) The next song is my absolute favorite on the album, Fire Bomb. It starts of with a stronger guitar than rockstar and the combination of a strong guitar and classic piano is odd but meshes incredibly well. She says in the chorus "You others need to clear the road, cuz this thing is ready to blow! I just wanna set you on fire, so I won't have to burn alone. Then you, you'll know where I'm coming from...fire bomb, fire bomb." Rihannas voice is perfect for it, and as you already have noticed has evolved so much. Amazing vocals throughout. If you were missing that poppy pop Rihanna from the Good Girl Gone Bad (GGGB) era, here she is. The next song seems like a track off GGGB but with more edge. It has the poppy drum and synthesizer beat, and lyrics about sex! Theres your pop for the album! Its classic Rihanna, but the lyrics should've been more explicit if you ask me. Shes already saying motherfucker, bitch, shit, even nigga! Why not go all the way on a sex song? Its a good song nevertheless, lines like "I like it when you touch me there, I love the way you pull my hair" will keep bouncing through your head all day. The next track is Photographs, featuring Will.I.Am from the Black Eyed Peas. She almost lost this song to them but compromised. It talks about the relationship she used to have with someone(Will.I.Am, in the song at least) and all that they have left are photographs. The beat starts off sounding somewhat like Good Girl Gone Bad but then changes a bit. It is a bit slow but Rihanna talks/sings swiftly, not even taking breaths between the many verses! After awhile Will.I.Am pops in and brings life to the song. To be honest, before I heard the songs, I was VERY disappointed with Rihanna's collaboration choices. Last time she had Ne-Yo, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, etc and now Jeezy, Slash and Will.I.Am. But I must say, I am very impressed by all of their performances. Especially Will.I.Am's! Without him, the song might've been quite lifeless. They work well together, though in the chorus..they sound exactly like Fergie! Will.I.Am + Rihanna = Fergie? If you weren't surprised by the less than subtle fuck's and bitches and other cuss words earlier, you will be now. The next track, G4L, is fast drums but still slower feeling. G4L stands for Gangsta for Life. Rihanna is a gangsta rockstar, awesome? The first words she says indicates this isn't a silly pop song with the pop princess prancing around next to a rapper trying to be gangsta. This is the real deal, all Rihanna . The first line is "I lick the gun when I'm done, cuz I know that revenge is sweet..so sweet." She continues with tough lyrics throughout the song "We drivin by with dem headlights off we know where you stay - Do what you did, we don't play that shit, nigga we don't play!" near the end she starts saying "guns in the air, guns in the air, can't hear this again when you come 'round here, we got our guns got our guns got our guns in the mothafuckin air" then at the end she says once again "I lick the gun when I'm done cuz I know that revenge is sweet." The next track is Te Amo. Which was supposedly a leaked track from GGGB, and became a #1 hit in countries like Brazil without even being an official track. It has the spanishlike feel to the beat. The song almost portrays Rihanna as a lesbian, but it is more about a girl in love with Rihanna who Rihann doesn't love back, at least not in that way. Heres a part of the chorus "I said te amo, won't somebody tell me what she said? Don't it mean I love you..I think it means I love you". This is definitely going to be a hit internationally as if it already wasn't. Then it goes to the Timberlake written song. The lyrical content is not Justin's best work, he has done much better. Titled "Cold Case Love", it has a truly amazing beat. Adding sounds and instruments every few minutes. It is the longest song on the album, lasting a little over 6 minutes. Very slow at the beginning, but as it progresses it gets a bit faster and more instruments begin to play. Almost as shes bringing a concert alive and more people want to join in. Near the end it is bursting with instruments and a magnificent sound, especially with Rihannas voice whose vocal's are not overshadowed by the compelling beat. Justin even gets a little beatboxing in! When it gets to the 2 minute left mark you'll be mesmerized by the beat. I was surprised, almost thought it skipped to the next song judging by the change! Guitars, Violens, Pianos, Beatboxing, Synthesizers, Drums - it has it all. Saved by the amazing beat. The last song is infact titled the last song. Its actually my third favorite off the album, with Cold Case Love and Fire Bomb respectively taking the 2nd and 1st. It too starts off slow but progresses nicely. When it gets to the chorus it is spectacular. I love the classic beat, this is one of the songs you'll love when you're 80. She emotionally exclaims "Its time to turn on...THE LAST SONG!" I don't mind if this is the last song I ever hear, but I'd like to hear a bit more Rihanna before I go :) This may not be the best album ever, but its Rihanna's best album and GGGB was definitely setting the bar high. No skippable songs, every is beautiful and worth listening to over and over again. Rihanna delivers, and delivers near perfectly. Beyonce, Gaga, Britney, Miley..get out of the way, very important bitch coming through, Rihanna. Ah, the Rihturn of great, unique music. - Vikey Expand
  8. EbonyW
    Nov 28, 2009
    10
    The best album of the year lyrically. Vocally Rihanna has improved so much and each track on the album gave you something different. That extra umph in pop music.
  9. LisaS
    Nov 24, 2009
    10
    Absolutely stunning and amazing! Her best work yet!
  10. ValdeneS
    Nov 23, 2009
    9
    Great album. I especially love Russian Roulette, Wait Your Turn, Rude Boy & The Last Song. Shows artistic and personal growth,a bit dark but its not generic pop, and that makes it refreshing... its worth a listen.
  11. GerganaG
    Nov 24, 2009
    10
    It's the best album ever!
  12. DJ
    Nov 30, 2009
    9
    I love this CD. She needed a change from kiddy-pop!
  13. JonH.
    Dec 7, 2009
    9
    Rhianna is flirting with greatness, on this album
  14. ruir
    Nov 23, 2009
    7
    With no doubts , her best album .
  15. MusicUnlimited
    Nov 23, 2009
    10
    An amazingly mature and emotional album that puts all other releases out this year to shame!
  16. JamesK
    Nov 23, 2009
    10
    really strong. heavy for R&B, both in sound and content. very dark, very rock. I like.
  17. YashicaS
    Nov 23, 2009
    10
    This album is great! I didnt think Rihanna a "pop Star" would ever have an album that i could listen to years from today! GREAT WORK! IM PROUD OF HER.
  18. MelissaM
    Nov 24, 2009
    9
    Her emotions and strength are entirely palpable in her latest effort, Rated R. No, it's not danceable, but it'[s real and it's Rihanna, and she never let's us down or surprises us with what she has in store, next.
  19. DKismet
    Nov 24, 2009
    10
    She's never sounded better. Her edgier sound works perfectly for her vocals. I love it thru and thru! Awesome.
  20. ChrisM
    Nov 26, 2009
    10
    Rhianna's best album and my fave album at the mo! Firebomb, Te Amo, Rude Boy & Stupid in love are my fave tracks!
  21. MoniqueS.
    Dec 6, 2009
    9
    Her best album yet, Personal favorite 'Fire Bomb'.
  22. GarethS
    Nov 23, 2009
    10
    Best pop album of 2009!! Loved it. Go Rihanna!!
  23. coldcaselove
    Nov 23, 2009
    10
    This truly is a classic album. its better than good girl gone bad. im really glad she did something different with this album, she surprised us all and really demonstrated her vocal ability. all tracks are single-worthy (just like good girl gone bad).
  24. Alan
    Nov 23, 2009
    9
    I love this CD so much; the swagger, the anger, the fierceness. It his her best album to date. Grace Jones for our times. Love the whole concept of it.
  25. CameronS
    Nov 23, 2009
    10
    This was a spectacular album. She really made it something special. She captured what she went through and the struggles she went through. But she continues to show that she won't stick to the same, which is the sign of a true artist. Its fascinating to listen to and really brings the listener through a journey. Fantastic!
  26. GarethW
    Nov 24, 2009
    10
    Without a doubt, the greatest album of 2009 so far. This is emotive, expressive, and intense music, which Rihanna sings with her bajan accent in full view to the world. What happens when Good Girl Gone Bad, is given the bajan twist from Music of the Sun, some stunning Ballads from A Girl Like Me, and a unique, gritty, raw Drum and Bass edge. A new sound for the industry, welcomed with Without a doubt, the greatest album of 2009 so far. This is emotive, expressive, and intense music, which Rihanna sings with her bajan accent in full view to the world. What happens when Good Girl Gone Bad, is given the bajan twist from Music of the Sun, some stunning Ballads from A Girl Like Me, and a unique, gritty, raw Drum and Bass edge. A new sound for the industry, welcomed with open arms. Rihanna has sealed her place as the icon of young, daring music. Expand
  27. NicolaL
    Nov 24, 2009
    8
    Rihanna's best offering yet. There is no 'Umbrella' on Rated R, but it seems like a more honest (and angry) album. Still it does contain some catchy tracks. I loved it.
  28. DammyA
    Nov 25, 2009
    10
    I love it. Very unique, she has carved her own genre...no other Cd or artist sounds remotely like her.
  29. DarelT.
    Nov 27, 2009
    10
    This Album definitely shows Rihanna growth as artist...not only channeling her experiences into her work but providing a cohesive piece of work that may just well be the best album of the year... However I feel that while Rihanna will lose some fans with this album she'll gain many others... This album will be the one that takes Rihanna from cookie cutter satus to Legendary one way This Album definitely shows Rihanna growth as artist...not only channeling her experiences into her work but providing a cohesive piece of work that may just well be the best album of the year... However I feel that while Rihanna will lose some fans with this album she'll gain many others... This album will be the one that takes Rihanna from cookie cutter satus to Legendary one way or another. Expand
  30. JarvsH
    Nov 24, 2009
    10
    Her best album so far, and probably the best pop record in years.
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Jun 24, 2011
    60
    You are way, way better off not projecting any kind of emotional subtext onto this record.
  2. 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.
  3. Nothing else on the album can top 'Russian Roulette,' but they certainly complement it, and make its startling conclusion feel sadly inevitable.