808s / Deep Cuts

Deep Cuts: Rihanna

rihanna-unapologetic

Deep Cuts is a blog series where I pick out an often forgotten track from each one of an artist’s studio albums and take a look at why I personally like it so much. Each act gets an additional Bonus Track that can be from anywhere else in their discography, but if a song was released as a single it is ineligible for the series.

Let Me – Music Of The Sun

 
Probably the least ‘deep cut’ of all the songs here, Rihanna performed this album track from her debut on every tour up to and including the Loud Tour. It has always been a favourite of mine, and is such a banger of a hit that I’m baffled it wasn’t the follow up to Pon De Replay. The title track was close to taking this spot, a slice of midtempo RnB of the sort we don’t hear from RiRi anymore, but Let Me has had a spot on just about every Rihanna playlist I’ve been able to cram it into. With an amazing closing breakdown section, this was an early sign of the cocky popstar we would soon come to know and love.

Kisses Don’t Lie – A Girl Like Me

Going back to her first two, rush released, albums the most obvious difference is the sheer amount of reggae tracks on them. A cover of You Don’t Love Me(No, No, No) appears alongside pure reggae tracks like Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Kisses Don’t Lie is the most polished of the bunch, a much more pop infused take on the style, the kind of song Maroon 5 have made their career on. One of the best songs on arguably Rihanna’s weakest full length release, Kisses Don’t Lie represents a vital aspect of Rihanna’s sound here.

Good Girl Gone Bad – Good Girl Gone Bad

 

You’ll notice a trend from now on, most of the best album tracks from our Rihanna just so happen to be ballads. Since her third album I don’t really think she’s recorded a bad ballad and the title track of said album is one of the best. Emotional but relatable, it’s one of her best vocal performances. On an album full of harsh club beats and attitude, it feels like Good Girl Gone Bad was the first time we saw the real Rihanna.

Cold Case Love – Rated R

 
Cold Case Love is my all time favourite Rihanna album track. I remember listening to Rated R, by far RiRi’s greatest album, through a stream on her website while walking somewhere. I had to stop and gather myself when Cold Case Love had finished. This song takes you on a journey. Brutal emotion from the start, it’s made even more poignant when you consider the timing of Rated R. After a slow build up, the moment when the thundering drums kick in is incredible. The pinnacle of the best Rihanna album is the best of the deep cuts here.

Raining Men (Feat. Nicki Minaj) – Loud

 

Rihanna and Nicki just makes sense. Catchy, full of hooks, it’s one of the few hits on Loud that never actually saw a single release. This would probably still be amazing if it was a cover of the Weather Girls song though too.

Drunk on Love – Talk That Talk

 

Rihanna was Drunk on Love long before a certain couple were Drunk in Love. A full song over the top of Intro by The xx, this manages to sound unlike anything else in Rihanna’s discography and yet totally her at the same time. There’s something about the blend of soft UK house and the breathy vocal makes for yet another album midtempo album highlight.

Love Without Tragedy-Mother Mary – Unapologetic

 

Another emotional record, this two parter is one of the best tracks on Rihanna’s most underrated album. Mother Mary is an unusually subtle number, while Love Without Tragedy brings the drama. Together the contrast works extremely well, adding some theatrical emotion to an extremely dark album. Rihanna does these sort of songs so well and Love Without Tragedy – Mother Mary is one of my favourites.

Do Ya Thang – Talk That Talk (Deluxe Edition)

 

The bonus track I’ve chosen is one from Talk That Talk, I really could have chosen any of the three from the ones on here, but after so many dark ballads Do Ya Thang stands out as a shining slice of pure pop. Rihanna sounds so effortless on this song, it has that same joyous quality that What’s My Name does. No one has done pop in the last decade like Rihanna has and Do Ya Thang has been one of her highlights for me, there’s no one else who would sound so perfect on this song.

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