Wed May 30 2007
Time Out Ratings<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5
“I don’t know who you think I am / But I really don’t give a damn!” Rihanna snaps on Good Girl Gone Bad. Until now, however, it’s been hard to know who she thought she was. Throughout her first two albums, the 19-year-old Barbadian singer came off like little more than a reggae-pop puppet trying her hand at anything her producers threw her way. And while her forays into R&B, new wave and dancehall yielded superb hits like “Pon de Replay” and the Soft Cell--sampling “S.O.S.,” Rihanna herself never left an impression. Fortunately, with her third album in as many years, she emerges as a formidable urban-pop queen alongside Amerie—whose upcoming Because I Love It is a similar tour de force—and especially Beyonc.
In fact, Good Girl Gone Bad is everything that Beyonc’s manic B’Day should’ve been. Including contributions from Jay-Z, Ne-Yo, Timbaland and Justin Timberlake, it’s largely a filler-free dance fest that should be blaring out of cars and clubs all summer. Moreover, Rihanna finally displays a personality in feisty, electro-tinged tracks like “Push Up on Me” and “Breakin’ Dishes,” wherein she pulls a Left Eye when she suspects her man of cheating: “I’m roastin’ marshmallows on the fire / And what I’m burnin’ is your attire”). Elsewhere, she sticks with ’80s-biting bangers la “S.O.S.”: “Don’t Stop the Music” samples Thriller-era Michael Jackson, while the dance-rockin’ “Shut Up and Drive” borrows the bass line from New Order’s “Blue Monday.” Pon de replay? Again and again. — Jimmy Draper