So, where are the hits?
This will be the question on the lips of club-goers, label executives, and music fans who insist on assessing pieces of art like the stock market. It's not a completely unfair question: Rihanna is a hitmaker, unquestionably. Chart-topping songs like "SOS," "Umbrella," "Disturbia," and "Rude Boy" established her early on as a singer with a well-manicured finger on the pulse of global pop trends, able to bend her expressive, malleable voice to the mutating needs of late-'00s radio formats. She could do R&B, EDM, and sing the hooks to forgettable Eminem songs. For a period, she was untouchable.
But her priorities seem to have shifted. Last year, she released three singles: the vaguely political "American Oxygen," the soulful Paul McCartney and Kanye West collaboration "FourFiveSeconds," and the tough-talking "Bitch Better Have My Money." None of these songs hit the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart -- a feat she's accomplished 13 times, tying her with Michael Jackson -- and none appear on Anti. The closest thing to a conventional single on the record is the clubby "Work," a paean to taking care of business that works despite a Drake verse that includes the creepy line, "If you had a twin, I would still choose you." Uh, thanks for not choosing my hypothetical twin?