Rihanna, "Rated R"

89 Billboard Rating

Rihanna may have been a good girl gone bad on her 2007 album, but on her new one, she's a good girl gone bad-ass. During the electric-guitar-soused "Rock Star," the R&B singer revels in her bad-girl rebellion, crooning, "Got my middle finger up/I don't really give a fuck." And over double-speed drums on "G4L," she warns, "Any motherfuckers want to disrespect/We don't play that shit." Meanwhile, the singles "Wait Your Turn" and "Hard" find Rihanna singing beefy lyrics-"I'm such a fucking lady" and "the hottest bitch in heels," respectively-over epic piano patterns. But the artist doesn't talk tough all the way through the set. "Photographs" features Rihanna lamenting over a lost relationship above static drums, whereas on the heartfelt ballad "Stupid in Love," she croons over a pulsating beat, "You don't know what you lost/And you won't realize it till I'm gone." In either case, she proves that the good girl in her has gone bad indefinitely. --Mariel Concepcion