After much anticipation, Rihanna finally dropped her eighth studio album, Anti. The album was released on Tidal just hours after the full tracklist was accidentally leaked by the streaming service and then the album itself leaked online.
At midnight on January 28, Rihanna decided to finally release Anti for free as a gift to her fans for their ongoing support and patience. The singer’s new album includes her new single “Work” featuring Drake, a cover of Tame Impala’s “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” (renamed “Same “Ol Mistakes” on Anti), but it doesn’t include Rihanna’s three previous singles: “American Oxygen,” “B*tch Better Have My Money,” and “FourFiveSeconds.”
— Rihanna (@rihanna) January 28, 2016
A deluxe edition of the 13-track album will be released on Friday. It’s likely that it will include three new songs and not the three singles released back in 2015. For fans who were looking to purchase Anti, “downloads will be available exclusively on TIDAL via limited supply of [complimentary] download codes provided as a gift from Rihanna and Samsung, each complementary download will come with a 60-day free [trial] of TIDAL. Once all codes are used anyone will be able to purchase the album via the TIDAL download store.”
Rihanna has previously announced her world tour, which kicks off on February 26 in San Diego. The U.S. leg of the tour will include openers like Travis Scott, while the European leg will include Big Sean and The Weeknd. Tickets for some of Rihanna’s European dates are now available for purchase. Learn more by going to www.livenational.com and www.ticketmaster.co.uk.
— Rihanna (@rihanna) December 11, 2015
Since RiRi decided to release her new album for free, it’s been barred from achieving chart success in the U.K. A spokesperson for the Official Charts UK told the Daily Star Online their reason for blocking the album from entering the UK album charts.
“Free downloads don’t count towards the Official Chart, meaning ANTi currently won’t be eligible for the Official Albums Chart. It has not yet been announced when ANTi will be available to download and stream on other services, including iTunes, Apple Music and Spotify.”
On Thursday, January 27 at 8 a.m. EST, Rihanna released her lead single “Work.” She took to Twitter to share a link to her song, which fans can also only download or listen to on Tidal. The news of her new song came just a day after she shared a photo of herself listening to the album, the follow-up to her 2012 album, Unapologetic.
— Rihanna (@rihanna) January 27, 2016
If you’re one of those fans who were looking for an album packed with bangers and No. 1 hits, then Anti is not the album for you. This one is a departure from Rihanna’s previous albums, although it’s on par with Rated R. It’s definitely experimental since it juggles a mixture of styles and moods that wraps up with songs about love.
There are no big producers involved such as Calvin Harris, Dr. Luke, Max Martin or Stargate. Instead, it seems like Anti is Rihanna’s attempt at delivering a critically-acclaimed, award-worthy classic album that she wanted.
“In fact, Work aside, none of the songs really quicken the BPM, favouring instead textured atmospherics, and, in the album’s second half, a stripped-back minimalism that might scare casual fans.”
Anti also takes the singer back to her Carribean and dancehall routes, but it also shows Rihanna in a mature light. It’s quite different from her 2005 breakout hit song “Pon De Replay,” which also featured some strong dancehall vibes. Rihanna was only 17-years-old when this song dropped, and most of her fans remember seeing the video on MTV’s TRL long before “Umbrella” changed the scope of the music industry.
But the fate of Anti is still unclear. Will it only be available on Tidal, or will it appear on competing streaming services such as Apple Music and Spotify? Rihanna also has a history of withholding new music a period of time after a release, much like Adele and Coldplay. Also, will physical copies be available? According to the Billboard 200, 58 percent of Unapologetic’s sales were physical and 42 percent were digital.
Will a digital-only release of Anti hinder its chances of hitting No. 1 on the charts? A major record label exec revealed that although releasing surprise albums free of charge is a huge trend right now, it can mess with an artist’s chance for success.
“It’s a trend, but one only marquee artists should follow. You’re at a major label to take advantage of all their marketing and sales expertise, and you curtail a lot of that by just putting your album out and saying, ‘Surprise.'”
What are your thoughts on Rihanna’s Anti? Do you like the new direction the singer has taken with her music? Sound off below in the comments section.
[Photos by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for WESTBURY ROAD ENTERTAINMENT LLC]