"Bad girls take risks," Rihanna says. "We tried things on this album that we never tried before."
Rihanna describes herself as "very green" with her first album, "Music of the Sun," released in August 2005. "I had just moved to America [from Barbados]. Everything was new. It was all a learning process," she says. With her second album, she was more prepared. Now, with "Good Girl Gone Bad," due this week via Def Jam, Rihanna says she knows where she wants to go and that she's more involved with singles, video treatments and her image.
"Bad girls take risks," Rihanna says. "We tried things on this album that we never tried before." "Good Girl Gone Bad" is evenly split between dance grooves and hip-pop jams. "Push Up," "Don't Stop the Music" and "Breakin' Dishes" are decidedly uptempo and recall Latin freestyle and electro sounds of the '80s. The new wave-leaning "Shut Up and Dance" is rooted in the same decade.
Ne-Yo penned three tracks ("Questions Existing," "Hate That I Love You," the title cut), while Justin Timberlake wrote "Rehab." And Rihanna worked with a handful of producers, including Timbaland, Stargate and Jonathan "J.R." Rotem. C. Tricky Stewart produced lead single "Umbrella," which rocketed to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 last week.
The timing for the artist's new partnership with CoverGirl was particularly right because Rihanna was in the process of giving her image a more mature makeover. "My new look is purposely adult," she says. "I did what felt natural. As for the album's title, consider it Rihanna's way of breaking out of her innocent shell: "I wanted to show growth as a person and artist. But for me, 'bad girl' does not mean 'wild girl.' It's more about taking chances, trying new things -- visually and musically."