Rated R

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

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Universal acclaim- based on 487 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. 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.
  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. 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.
  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: 85 out of 105
  2. Negative: 13 out of 105
  1. Jan 29, 2016
  2. DammyA
    Nov 25, 2009
    I love it. Very unique, she has carved her own genre...no other Cd or artist sounds remotely like her.
  3. JarvsH
    Nov 24, 2009
    Her best album so far, and probably the best pop record in years.
  4. JonH.
    Dec 7, 2009
    Rhianna is flirting with greatness, on this album
  5. CocoE
    Nov 30, 2009
    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 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
  6. Jun 4, 2011
    Rihanna recovers from the infamous Chris Brown-incident with an album that is both depressing, emotional and moving as well as fierce,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.
  7. KateS
    Nov 23, 2009
    Awful and overrated album.

See all 105 User Reviews