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Loud is Rihanna's fifth studio album that was released on November 12, 2010 by Def Jam Recordings and SRP Records.

TracklistingEdit

  1. S&M 4:03
  2. What's My Name? (featuring Drake) 4:23
  3. Cheers (Drink To That) 4:22
  4. Fading 3:19
  5. Only Girl (In The World) 3:55
  6. California King Bed 4:11
  7. Man Down 4:27
  8. Raining Men (featuring Nicki Minaj) 3:45
  9. Complicated 4:17
  10. Skin 5:04
  11. Love The Way You Lie (Part II) (featuring Eminem) 4:56

Album BackgroundEdit

Six months after releasing "Rated R," Rihanna began planning a fifth album, promising that her new material would be "more energenic" than her previous albums.

StarGate's Tor Erik Hermansen, said: "Rihanna came to us before we started recording "Only Girl (In the World)" and said: ‘I feel great about myself. I want to go back to having fun, I want to make happy and up-tempo records'."

Sean Garrett compared the sound of the new tracks with her previous hit singles "Umbrella" and "Rude Boy".

In an interview for MTV UK, the vice president of Def Jam Recordings compared the upcoming Rihanna album with Michael Jackson's "Thriller" saying: "Rihanna is coming along incredibly. I’m trying to push her to where every song will be a hit from one to 12. I’m talking about NO album fillers. Our bar for this album is Michael Jackson's ‘Thriller’."

Recording & Album TitleEdit

Rihanna and L.A. Reid assembled a group of songwriters and record producers at several recording studios in Los Angeles for two weeks to write songs for her; they wrote approximately 200 songs, eleven of which were included on the album.

Def Jam rented out nearly every recording studio in Los Angeles, California in order to create as many songs as possible.

Ray Daniels, the manager of musical duo Rock City (brothers Theron and Timothy Thomas), was present during the sessions, and stated that a writing camp typically involves the label hiring 10 recording studios for two weeks at the cost of $25,000 per day.

Daniels revealed that it is where songwriters have lyrics but no music, and where producers have music but no lyrics.

Singer-songwriters and producers Taio Cruz, Alex da Kid, Sean Garrett, Ne-Yo, Rico Love, Timbaland, Shontelle, David Guetta and Drake contributed to the album.

The song "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love" was written for Rihanna, but the song was rejected and was subsequently sent to Usher.

With regard to "What's My Name?", Rihanna thought Drake could understand the melody of the song and invited him to work on the track when she played him the finishbozed recording.

The collaboration was originally planned to be a remix, but later, it was decided that the version featuring Drake would be used as the original.

The album was recorded in various recording studios worldwide including the Larrabee Sound Studios, The Village and Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, Platinum Sound Recording Studios, and Roc the Mic Studios in New York City and The Bunker Studios in Paris.

In September 2010, during a webchat with her fansite Rihannadaily.com, Rihanna announced that the album would be called "Loud", saying "get Loud everybody, get crazy, get excited, because I'm pumped. I'm just gonna be me, because that's what you guys love the most, and that's what makes me feel best. Just being normal, normal for me is Loud! Sassy, fun, flirty, energetic."

While Rihanna was filming "Battleship", she explained in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, "Loud is, the word, the name of the album definitely reflects the attitude of it, it's really sassy and flirty and it grabs your attention and that's why I enjoy it. It takes you through a really really interesting ride. So colorful the album."

CompositionEdit

The opening track "S&M" is an up-tempo eurodance song that was produced by Norwegian producers StarGate and Sandy Vee. The song is reminiscent of Depeche Mode's 1984 song "Master and Servant" and contains lyrical thoughts of sadomasochism.

Andy Kellman of Allmusic regarded "S&M" as a dance-pop song which efficiently balanced "Rihanna's playful and sinister sides".

"What's My Name?" was also produced by StarGate and features guest vocals from rapper Drake. It is a mid-tempo, electro-R&B song with a back track consisting of heavy reggae. The song also sees Rihanna's return to the "Island-pop" style of her early career."

"Cheers (Drink to That)" is a pop rock song produced by The Runners, and interpolates Avril Lavigne's 2002 song "I'm with You".

Mark Savage from BBC News described the song as a funky, loping guitar groove for a night out on the town.

"Only Girl (In the World)" was the third song from the album produced by StarGate. It is an up-tempo dance-pop song that incorporates elements of eurodance in its production.

Brad Wete, a reviewer of Entertainment Weekly, described Rihanna's vocals as "seductive" and reminiscent of a "stronger, sexier version" of her 2007 single, "Don't Stop the Music."

"California King Bed" is a rock power ballad; Ryan Dombell of Pitchfork Media compared it to the Aerosmith song, "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing".

The Shama Joseph produced "Man Down" is a reggae song with an electro rhythm, in which Rihanna sings in a West Indian accent.

"Raining Men" is a hip-hop song, which features rap vocals from rapper Nicki Minaj. Rihanna described the song as a fun song that differs from the original, referring to The Weather Girls' song "It's Raining Men."

"Complicated" was produced by Tricky Stewart and Ester Dean. Leah Greenblatt from Entertainment Weekly said: "Even while telling a recalcitrant man how hard he is to love, she [Rihanna] sounds almost buoyant, her newly expanded vocals eager to scale the song's high-altitude house beat".

The final track is the sequel to Rihanna's duet with Eminem, "Love the Way You Lie".

"Love the Way You Lie (Part II)", which was produced by Alex da Kid, features Rihanna as the protagonist and lead vocalist, viewing aspects of a relationship from a female perspective, unlike the original, which featured Eminem as lead vocalist and was from a male perspective.

Chart PerformanceEdit

"Loud" debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 207,000 copies in the United States, giving Rihanna her highest first-week sales in the United States at that time. It also debuted at number one on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

In its second week, "Loud" dropped to number six on the Billboard 200 and sold 141,000 copies.

By its thirteenth week, the album returned to its peak at number three and sold 62,000 copies; however, in its fourteenth week, the album dipped to number ten on the Billboard 200 with 45,000 copies sold.

During its fifteenth week, the album rose to number eight, selling an additional 33,000 copies in the US.

By July 3, 2011, it was the eleventh-best selling album of 2011 in the United States, selling 598,000 copies between January 1, 2011 and July 3, 2011.

The album ranked as Billboard magazine's ninth-most successful album of 2011 on their year-end charts.

As of March 2018, "Loud" was certified 3x Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), denoting shipments of three million album-equivalent units in the United States, including pure album sales of 1.8 million copies in the US as of June 2015.

As of November 2011, the album has sold over 8 million copies worldwide.

Critical ReceptionEdit

"Loud" received positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, the album received an average score of 67, based on 22 reviews.

Jon Pareles of The New York Times perceived a "hermetic, cool calculation" on the album, writing that it "works the pop gizmos as neatly as any album this year, maintaining the Rihanna brand".

Entertainment Weekly's Leah Greenblatt commented that the album shows Rihanna "undefeated by her worst circumstances — and finding redemption in exactly the kind of pop nirvana that made her famous in the first place".

James Reed of The Boston Globe called it "an unabashed return to where Rihanna belongs: the dance floor" and stated: "As if liberating herself from the depths, she's a force on these 11 songs."

Stacey Anderson of Spin commended Rihanna's "full, healthy claim to her sexuality" and wrote that the album "offers a confident female ethos on par with the best of Shakira or Beyoncé."

Genevieve Koski of The A.V. Club commended Rihanna for elevating the album's generic sound, writing that she "does sound invigorated, delivering charismatic vocal performances of material that doesn’t always warrant them".

Emily Mackay of NME felt that its "experiments feel more organic, its tone better paced" than "Rated R."

Thomas Conner of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote that "the celebratory atmosphere of Rihanna's sassy new jams are seasoned with some of the darker flavors from 'Rated R'".

Pitchfork Media's Ryan Dombal complimented the album's "effervescent pop" and stated: "Her laissez-faire attitude toward hit-making on Loud can result in too-safe moves or semi-experiments that come off surprisingly great".

Ed Power of Hot Press complimented its "unabashedly subtext-free" songs and found its hooks "way beyond addictive."

In a mixed review, Andy Kellman of Allmusic found the album's material "slapdash" and "uneven", and called it "more an unfocused assortment of poor-to-solid songs than a unified set".

Andy Gill of The Independent felt that "the more interesting tracks are those with less salacious demands on her vulnerability".

Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani commended that "the subtle West Indian flavor with which Rihanna and company have smartly imbued" most of the album, although he noted some flaws in its production and wrote that "Rihanna has always had trouble fitting into one genre ... and for better or worse, Rihanna continues to stylistically branch out on Loud".

Hugh Montgomery of The Observer commented that "sonically, it's fairly unremarkable ... but its strident buoyancy is difficult to resist".

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