ANTI (Deluxe) [2xLP]
ANTI is a rich and conflicted pop record, at its most interesting when it’s at its most idiosyncratic.
It’s not crammed with bloodthirsty, dance-oriented jams and feels distinctly smaller, more inward-facing than her previous records, as if it were intended as a kind of spiritual stock-taking, a moment of reckoning for both Rihanna and her fans. Her grainy, mesmerizing voice is paramount here, the sun in ANTI’s universe, the thing everything else orbits: "I got to do things my own way, darling," she announces over a stuttering, distorted beat in opener "Consideration," a prickly collaboration with the R&B singer SZA. The sentiment feels deliberately placed, meant as a way to read everything that follows.