Rihanna is one of the biggest musical acts of the past 10 years. However, her career has taken an unfortunate downswing for the past year. She was supposed to release an album in 2015, but that didn’t happen. Many suspect the album was delayed because songs like “B**ch Better Have Money” and “American Oxygen” failed to make a strong impact on the world charts.
Anti had a non-traditional release structure. It was considered a major flop at first because it only sold 460 copies in its first day. NME was one of the first outlets to talk about the poor performance of Rihanna’s latest album.
“But industry figures have suggested that physical copies of the record haven’t been selling quite as well. The New York Times reports that chart figures service Nielsen says the album sold less than 1,000 copies in the US. A subscriber to the service who wished to remain anonymous said the specific figure was actually 460.”
Although this sounds awful, perhaps people shouldn’t judge an album’s success from one day of sales. Billboard now reports that ANTI will be the No. 1 album next week.
“Rihanna is aiming to score her second No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart with Anti, according to industry forecasters. The set could earn upward of 175,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in the week ending Feb. 4, which may power the set to a jump to No. 1 on the chart dated Feb. 20. Of that sum, perhaps 130,000 could be in pure album sales.”
This is a kick in the fact to those who based Rihanna’s album ANTI‘s “flop” performance on just one day of sales. However, compared to the success of Rihanna’s previous albums, this is a huge disappoitment.
Rihanna’s previous album Unapologetic debuted at No. 1 with 238,000 copies sold. Billboard didn’t count album streaming equivalents then, so all we can do is compare the 238,000 copies with the 130,000 non-streaming albums she sold during the first full week of Anti‘s release. But the news gets even worse. Even though the single “Work” with Drake debut’s at No. 9, it’s considered a huge disappointment since Rihanna used to be able to debut in the top five with songs she did by herself. Her only other recent top ten hit was “FourFiveSeconds,” which featured both Kanye West and Paul McCartney.
Even though Rihanna’s latest chart feats are considered disappointments, Anti has, for the most part, received good reviews. The best review is from Entertainment Weekly.
“Rihanna’s most intriguing project yet, even if there’s no clear smash amongst its 13 tracks. In many ways it’s her most deliberately uncommercial album yet, but don’t let the low-key THC vibes fool you: every harmony, drum beat, and transition on Anti is painstakingly finessed.”
Rolling Stone gives Anti a four-star review.
“Ultimately, Anti‘s sound is more than just another new costume for a singer who’s dabbled in everything from flirty teen-pop to aggressive trap over the last decade-plus. This is an album that forces us to question the boxes we’ve placed Rihanna in all along,” claims reviewer Brittany Spanos.
Some suspect that Rihanna’s PR team has been working overtime to come up with good articles about Rihanna after all the “flop” reports. However, in the end, it will be the music on Anti that matters the most.
[Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]