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Talk That Talk is Rihanna's sixth studio album that was released on November 18, 2011 by Def Jam Recordings and SRP Records.

TracklistingEdit

  1. You Da One 3:20
  2. Where Have You Been 4:02
  3. We Found Love (featuring Calvin Harris) 3:35
  4. Talk That Talk (featuring Jay-Z) 3:29
  5. Cockiness (Love It) 2:58
  6. Birthday Cake 1:18
  7. We All Want Love 3:57
  8. Drunk On Love 3:32
  9. Roc Me Out 3:29
  10. Watch N' Learn 3:31
  11. Farewell 4:16

Album BackgroundEdit

Following the release of Rihanna's previous studio album, "Loud," she revealed via Twitter that the album would be re-issued with new songs and released in the fall of 2011.

In September 2011, she took to Twitter to confirm that plans for a re-issue of "Loud" had been scrapped, tweeting: "I [thought about] a [re-release], but LOUD is its own body of work! Plus [you] guys work so [fucking] hard that [you] deserve to act brand new."

In an interview with Mixtape Daily, producer Verse Simmonds, half of the duo The Jugganauts (who wrote and produced the reggae-infused song "Man Down" from Loud") revealed that Rihanna was nearing completion of her sixth studio album in August 2011.

The duo also said that they had penned two tracks for possible inclusion on the album, saying: "From what I understand, she is closing the album up now, and we did two records for her that she really, really loved and I'm really excited about them as well" and also expressed interest in writing a third song.

On September 15, 2011, Rihanna confirmed via her official Twitter account that recording sessions for the album were indeed underway, tweeting "I can't wait to start filling u guys in on some details!"

Rihanna created a Facebook campaign page entitled "Rihanna: UNLOCKED" [sic], whereby her fans on Facebook are given missions to complete, in the form of games, in order to "unlock" new information about the album.

Upon the unveiling of the standard edition's artwork, both James Dinh of MTV and a reviewer for NME commented that Rihanna looks "seductive" in the image.

Gordon Smart of The Sun humorously criticized the standard edition artwork by saying that it looks as though the singer is trying to cover up a cold sore with her tongue, writing "It's easy to pick them up at this time of year – especially as she's constantly naked or attached to her new boyfriend Dudley O'Shaughnessy by the lips."

Recording & ProductionEdit

The recording sessions for "Talk That Talk" began in February 2011 and ended in November 2011. Recording for the album took place during the Loud Tour.

Due to this, recording sessions for the album took place in various countries including Paris, London, Norway, Denmark and Germany.

Vocal producer Kurk Harrell estimates the album was cut in more than 25 cities. Rihanna recorded a total of sixteen to seventeen song. She would record late into the morning, sometimes until noon before riding her bus to the next city.

In May 2012, Rihanna revealed that whilst she was recording the album, she suffered from exhaustion, saying in part: "It was the best [shit] ever, it was some rock star [shit] This is the craziest schedule I've ever been on in my entire life. One morning I woke up and started crying so hard. I finally just got to my bed from the IV [drip] and I was just like, 'Good I can actually get to sleep tonight', because we stayed up all night' and I finished [the album] at 5 pm the day before..."

Kuk Harrell (one of the producers of "Talk That Talk") spoke on the recording of the album saying: "In addition to touring, we are recording Rihanna's new album. We have a portable studio that we set up at the different hotels that we are staying at. We set up shop anywhere in the hotel. Before we went on the European leg of Rihanna's Loud tour, we started recording the album in Los Angeles. Rihanna likes to work late hours, so she would come into the studio at 9pm and work until 6am."

Continuing Harrell stated: "The show was the priority, and then the album. That's how the day was broken up." Expanding on this Harrell stated that Rihanna would perform every night, finish her meet and greet by one a.m. Then go to the studio for around two or three a.m."

During these sessions, Harrell stated, "I’d make the decision based off where I felt her voice was. Knowing she just did two hours of a show and meet-and-greets, I would suggest capturing the stuff that was easier to get like the lower-range stuff so we wouldn’t hurt or damage her voice."

CompositionEdit

The opening track, "You Da One", which was produced by Dr. Luke, is a bouncy mid-tempo song with a Caribbean flavor, and features a dubstep influenced breakdown towards the middle of the song.

"Where Have You Been", produced by Dr. Luke and Ester Dean, runs through an acoustic beat and incorporates elements of trance.

The lead single, "We Found Love", is an electro house and dance-pop song. The title track features rapper Jay-Z and samples The Notorious B.I.G.'s song "I Got a Story to Tell".

"Roc Me Out" is set in "chugging" tempo and features heavy synths. The tenth track, "Watch n' Learn", features a flirtatious and playful hip pop melody with grinding synths.

The final standard edition track of the album, "Farewell", is a ballad. The song was written by Ester Dean and Alexander Grant, with production helmed by Grant under his production name Alex da Kid.

"Farewell" contains lyrics that revolve around saying goodbye to a lover who is not able to be physically present in the relationship for long periods of time. The instrumentation consists of a rolling piano.

Additional tracks released on the deluxe edition of Talk That Talk include the songs "Red Lipstick", "Do Ya Thang", and "Fool in Love". "Red Lipstick" is described as a "dark 'n' twisted" dubstep number which was written by The Dream and Rihanna and produced by the two along with production duo Chase & Status, who first worked with Rihanna on her fourth studio album, "Rated R."

"Do Ya Thang" is a contemporary R&B track with a subtle hook and a simple message. It was written and produced by Rihanna and The-Dream.

"Fool in Love" is a rhapsodic ballad which incorporates acoustic and electric guitars, synthesizers, and drums, and has received comparisons to Britney Spears' song, "Criminal."

Chart PerformanceEdit

"Talk That Talk" debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 198,000 copies in the United States, slightly below her last album (which also debuted at number three with 207,000 copies.)

During its second week, the album sold an additional 68,200 copies in the United States, dropping to number 7 on the charts and bringing its total sales to 266,400 units sold.

On March 26, 2018, the album was certified 3x Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), marking shipments of over three million album-equivalent units.

As of June 2015, it has sold over 1,150,000 copies in the United States and also more than 5.5 million copies worldwide.

Critical ReceptionEdit

"Talk That Talk" received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, the album received an average score of 64, based on 27 reviews.

AllMusic's Andy Kellman dubbed it Rihanna's "third best album to date ... behind Good Girl Gone Bad and Rated R," and stated, "Minus the fluff, it's close to the latter's equal.

Jon Caramanica of The New York Times wrote that the album places Rihanna "squarely at the center of the pop genre best suited for a singer of her fundamental evanescence – dance music, which conveniently is the mode du jour of contemporary R&B and pop.

James Lachno of The Daily Telegraph called it "an adrenalised behemoth of a record which reasserts her position as one of pop's most compulsive pleasures".

Rebecca Nicholson of The Guardian called it "a blast of obnoxious, filth-fuelled pop" and felt that "it works best when the music hall bawdiness is left aside in favour of bleak euphoria".

In a review of its deluxe edition for MSN Music, Robert Christgau complimented the songs' carnal lyrics and stated, "I prefer it to her earlier albums because I find its many porny moments titillating."

In a mixed review, Randall Roberts of the Los Angeles Times expressed dissatisfaction with the themes of the album stating, "The singer works that NC-17 territory, but the sauciness sometimes borders on shtick. With an eye toward Middle America, it's mostly just insinuation."

Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune panned the album for its "double or single entendres", and felt that it gives the impression of "a chintzy soft-core porn movie."

Andy Gill of The Independent said that Rihanna mostly "struggles to assert her vocal character against a sea of effects".

Matthew Cole from Slant Magazine panned it as "pretty easily the worst Rihanna album yet".

Pitchfork's Lindsay Zoladz wrote that the album "tries too hard to send a more one-dimensional message" than other pop artists in 2011, adding that it "ends up falling flat".

Priya Elan of NME found it "annoyingly safe" and wrote that it "leaves us with the impression Rihanna has spread herself so thinly that she doesn’t have time to record a cohesive album."

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