Next month Rihanna will release one of the year's most anticipated albums, Loud, and the singer has a lot of ambitions for it. "It's really expressive and sassy and flirty," she tells SPIN. "It's also blissful and really feminine."
There's a lot on the line with this record. Rihanna's been riding high on the pop charts with her Eminem collaboration "Love the Way You Lie," while her last album, the platinum-selling Rated R, spawned the massive singles "Rude Boy" and "Hard."
The singer took a break from finishing the album to give us a sneak peek of four of the edgier songs, including the Avril Lavigne-sampling "Cheers" and the sexually charged "S&M":
Rihanna delivers some of her most provocative lyrics on this track, including lines like "Sticks and stones may break my bones but chains and whips excite me." But she says people shouldn't take the sexually charged lyrics too literally. "I don't think of it in a sexual way, I'm thinking metaphorically," she says. "It's more of a thing to say that people can talk....people are going to talk about you, you can't stop that. You just have to be that strong person and know who you are so that stuff just bounces off. And I thought it was super bad ass."
On this reggae-tinged track, Rihanna delivers graphic lyrics about shooting a man, but it's not like she's armed with a glock and gunning down dudes on the street. "The song is about breaking a man's heart," Rihanna explains. "It's a very cleverly written song and what I love about it is that it's not a lyric you'd normally hear a female singing." As for the reggae vibe of the record, Rihanna says the music is an echo of her roots. "The vibe is Jamaican and West Indian," she says. "That's something that's close to me."
Rihanna experiments with grungier sounds (heavy guitars, rock beats) on this pub-appropriate anthem, which samples Avril Lavigne's ballad "I'm With You." "It's one of my favorites on the album," Rihanna says. "It's a song you would hear in a bar but I think you could also hear it all over pop radio. It's really grungy and melodic and catchy. And the way the producers sampled Avril - it's like she's an instrument. It's really cool how they combined [the song] with her vocals."
"What's My Name":
Stargate and Ester Dean penned this track, which features guest vocals from Drake. "It's a really fun flirtatious song," she says. "It has a youthful energy. And it's so catchy, like, you can't get it out of your head."
On the video front, Rihanna just dropped her latest, "Who's That Chick," and the production may be her most over-the-top yet. She teamed up with chip-maker Doritos to produce a "day" and "night" version of the video, which allows the user to toggle back and forth between both versions while the video streams. (Check out the Jonas Akerlund-directed clip here.) "It was strange because we had to shoot the exact video twice, the exact same way with the exact same staging and the same choreography," Rihanna says. "But it was cool to see the dynamics of the set, just to see how much it was contrast. I think it's very cool."