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Review: Anti

anti cover
via D4 Premiere

Anti (2016)

Rihanna

R&B

Westbury Road / Roc Nation


It was late last Wednesday night when I somehow ended up with Rihanna’s newest album for free.  Anti, the singer’s eighth studio album, was released for free through Jay Z’s streaming service Tidal.  I was just clicking around on Twitter and a few links later, her entire album was downloading to my computer.  I was already excited for Rihanna’s new project…but this put the cherry on top.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised anymore, since the idea of a “surprise album release” is now commonplace in a music industry that is changing every day.  Rihanna always strives to be different from everybody else and in true Rihanna fashion, Anti is supremely different from her previous work.

rihanna-anti-album-cover-party-2015-billboard-02-650
via Wiki Starz

Gone are the high-octane hip-hop beats and fiery pop sound.  Anti is more of a slow-chopped R&B affair and it also happens to be one of Rihanna’s most personal records yet.  This creative freedom might be the result of RiRi’s label change, moving from Def Jam to Roc Nation.  The album consists of songs of reflection on relationships of the past.  In fact, most of the album gets personal about her love life, including her highly public (and probably abusive) relationship with Chris Brown.

The album opens up with “Consideration,” featuring singer SZA.  The song is about Rihanna’s music career and how there should be a bigger emphasis on being an artist rather than an entertainer.  Rihanna has writing credits on the song, as well as all the other songs that appear on the album, which is a big deal for her.  This is one of her first forays into songwriting and it pays off in big ways.  To give context, Rihanna’s album Loud featured zero writing credits from the artist.  She’s come a long way in terms of being an artist, which is what the song is all about.  It’s a strong opening for an album.

anti 2
via News AU

Anti then continues to get deeper and deeper.  The desperate “Kiss It Better” dives into the emotions of someone who just got out of a relationship but want’s their lover back, laced with some nice guitar riffs in the background.  “Work,” the lone single from the album featuring, teams up with Drake to deliver a lust-filled narrative of two lovers.  There’s an exotic reggae beat that goes along with the track that gives it it’s laid-back quality.  The album is incredibly diverse in terms of sound, dipping it’s toes into genres like dancehall and soul.

Taking a break from the moody offerings on the album, “Desperado” is an energized and powerful track about being in a relationship with someone “on the run.”  There’s also “Woo,” a collaboration with rapper Travis Scott, Rihanna’s first track with her esteemed lover.  It’s a pointed track that delves into Rihanna’s feelings about an old flame.  However, the best track on the album is not even Rihanna’s.  “Same Ol’ Mistakes” is a cover of Tame Impala’s “New Person, Same Old Mistakes.”  The song is essentially about her work towards not releasing songs that are “burnt out.”  It’s a smooth track that is top-notch.

anti 3
via Pigeons and Planes

There is some first-rate writing on the album thanks to Rihanna, making Anti an experiential experience.  This experience is complemented with some great sound production and engineering.  In order to achieve the moody sounds that Rihanna wanted on the album, she teamed up with producers like Hit-Boy, DJ Mustard, Brian Kennedy, Timbaland, and No I.D., among others.  Anti is a far cry from the EDM club and dance projects of Rihanna’s past, but this album’s distinct sounds is one of her best.

If songs like “FourFiveSeconds” and “American Oxygen” were any indication, Rihanna has seemingly changed her musical course of direction and delivers an album in Anti that stands strong on its own.  Rihanna opens up with a collection of moody and love-infused tracks that will have you feeling all sorts of emotions.  Although I loved the Rihanna of the past, I applaud her for the changes that she has made in order to deliver this fine product of her creativity.

anti score

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Rocket League Goes Supersonic

Rocket League received assumable what can be considered the first of many updates yesterday: the Utopia update.  The patch gives players access to a brand new arena to go head to head in it’s game of rocket-powered battle car soccer.  The arena, simply called Utopia Coliseum, is a grand new stadium that carries on the theme of ancient Greece.  The coliseum, which looks like it held the first Olympics, blends a futuristic game with a historic setting.  It’s a really cool place to rocket around in and it is probably the grandest of the few stadiums that your were able to play in previously.

via pu.nl
via pu.nl

The update also gives players the option to spectate matches both offline and online.  This might seem like a minor option at first glance but it is huge for a game like this.  Rocket League, which I consider the next e-sports game, is the closest an e-sports game has actually gotten to being an actual sport.  There’s tense moments and tons of clutch plays that make the game not only fun to play but to watch as well.  I myself have watched my fair share of videos documenting some of the great plays that have taken place in the game.  Watching these moments live only makes sense.  Its these kinds of features that are really going to propel this game into the spotlight into the ever-growing world of e-sports.

This patch, which also offered a collection of other smaller features, was not the only piece of content to be released for Rocket League.  Yesterday also saw the release of the game’s first major paid DLC, titled Supersonic Fury.  The DLC, priced at a measly $3.99, is going to be the first of many paid content that will net Rocket League a lot of money.  The game was June’s PlayStation Plus free game of the month, meaning that tons of players picked up the game without paying a dime.  Psyonix, developers of the game, still made their money from their partnership with Sony, but the game’s surprising success probably left Psyonix with less money than they probably could have made.  These pieces of DLC, which are smartly priced, will most likely be downloaded by a ton of the game’s player base, giving Psyonix a ton of money.

via Pixel Dynamo
via Pixel Dynamo

Supersonic Fury gives players access to two more battle cars, six decals for each of those cars, five more paint options, two new rocket boosts, and two more wheels.  For the price your paying, you are getting a good bit of new customization options to make it worthwhile.  The two new cars you get look pretty nice and the decals that go with those cars are probably better looking than any previous decals that the game offered.  Additionally, both rocket boosts (“Burnout” and “Nitrous”) both leave ridiculous trails behind your car which will most likely leave your opponents cursing your name as you speed in front of them.  Yes, the game is now encouraging you to be “that guy.”

There’s a lot to like with Psyonix’s first batch of updates to their wildly successful game.  I am looking forward to see what comes next for Rocket League in terms of DLC.  I would only assume that new arenas and cars are in the plans, but I personally want to see some new modes apart from online, exhibition, and season.  I want to see them conjure up some modes that would put a spin on the established gameplay.  Things like Keep Away, where teams tried to maintain possession of the ball for the longest amount of time could provide some fun moments if done right.  I recognize that this probably won’t happen in the near future, but one can hope right?

via Eurogamer
via Eurogamer