Here’s a new Interns challenge. For Trashed we’ll be looking back at the discographies of some of our favourite artists and deleting 3 songs off each of their project. No matter how good or bad the album is 3 need to go.
We’re kicking off the challenge with Rihanna. RiRi has one of the strongest collections around. She’s a hit machine and has barely deviated from the charts on any project. The hits, however, have sat side-by-side with a few duds, particularly on early projects.
Music Of The Sun
Trashed: Now I Know, The Last Time, Willing To Wait
I suspect this is going to be one of the easier decision of the bunch. Music Of The Sun was a fun if not spotty debut. The hits were high and the misses were low. Rihanna’s voice was still developing and, as a result, it’s the ballads that don’t hit quite right. The closer Now I Know doesn’t go anywhere and The Last Time gives off cruise ship vibes. Willing To Wait is the best of the three but it’s a mid-tempo that drifts by.
A Girl Like Me
Trashed: Final Goodbye, A Girl Like Me, A Million Miles Away
Her second album and Rihanna is still going with the Caribbean-flavoured sound although the she’s upped the anti. From Unfaithful to SOS there are some bold moments on this and then others that feel like they’ve just been tacked on there. Like Music Of The Sun, the ballads drag this album down. Final Goodbye and A Million Miles Away plod along at a glacial pace while the title track has no strong melody to grab onto.
Good Girl Gone Bad
Trashed: Sell Me Candy, Lemme Get That, Question Existing
Good Girl Gone Bad is an undeniable pop classic and this is the hardest one so far. Obviously, there are some that just can’t be deleted. It’s hard to imagine Rihanna without Umbrella or Don’t Stop The Music that don’t match up to the majority of the project’s giddy heights. Sell Me Candy veers back to the direction of the first two albums despite edgier lyrics so we’re going to trash that one. Lemme Get That is in a similar position and those drums just drown out Ri’s otherwise captivating vocal performance. The final one is difficult. The ballads on GGGB are great but Question Existing fits the least here. Maybe it would have been better off on Rated R.
Trashed: Photographs, The Last Song, ROCKSTAR 101
Rated R, Anti aside, is my favourite Rihanna album so this one was naturally going to be difficult. It’s her most cohesive album and as such it feels like plucking anything out of here is a crime, not to mention three songs. The switch-up on Photographs is thrilling but we could have done without will.i.am so that’s the first to go. Then we’ve got to get rid of The Last Song. Cold Case Love would’ve been more than apt as an album closer. Then we’re ditching ROCKSTAR 101. It’s a lacklustre version of Hard.
Trashed: Skin, Raining Men, S&M
Loud feels like the moment Rihanna crossed over into untouchable status. It’s a mighty pop album, jam-packed with stylistic twists-and-turns. Some of her biggest hits are on here as well as fan favourites like Man Down. This is a hard one but there are a few that just don’t hit like the others. Skin stands out like a sore thumb as the odd man out here. It sounds like a Rated R offcut and it’s got to go. The next hurts a little but Raining Men is easily the weakest up-tempo on the album despite a pretty good Nicki Minaj verse. Deleting a single is always going to be controversial but S&M is a personal low-light for me. It’s so high octane that it becomes grating and overplay hasn’t helped that.
Talk That Talk
Trashed: We All Want Love, Farewell, Watch ‘n’ Learn
Talk That Talk is a wild ride. EDM bangers sit alongside the xx co-writes and some of her most overt hip-hop moments yet. It’s a little bit of a mess but when it’s great, it’s brilliant. We All Want Love stands out on the album as an anomaly. Ri loves a folk-tinged moment like California King Bed but this one piles on the cheese and falls short. We’re developing a habit of deleting the last song on each of her albums but we’ve got to ditch Farewell again. It’s got one hell of a chorus but it also doesn’t match the slick cockiness of the rest of the record. Finally, regrettably we have to say goodbye to Watch ‘n’ Learn. It’s a breezy, reggae moment but she’s done the genre better countless times before.
Trashed: Jump, Presh Out The Runway, Lost In Paradise
Rihanna continues the trend of being stylistically all over the place with her most bloated record to date. Unapologetic continues to trade in EDM while also serving up some of her best ballads ever. Surprisingly, most of the ballads are staying this time around. Pony has been played to death and Rihanna’s Jump redo doesn’t do anything to freshen it up. It’s the clear lowlight of the record. Phresh Out The Runway is the next one to go. I’ve never been a fan of David Guetta’s hip-hop-leaning production and despite Rihanna’s hard vocal, the beat runs all over her. Continuing our trend the last song goes again. Lost In Paradise has some great moments including its powerful bridge but the chorus is just so overblown.
Trashed: Woo, Never Ending, James Joint
ANTI is literally perfect so deleting anything off it feels like pure cruelty. It’s the nature of the game though and we’re going to do some slashing with one single tear running down our face. First up, we’re deleting Woo. It’s a gritty, haunting joint with a guest appearance from Travis Scott but it doesn’t quite have the vulnerability of the rest of the album. Next, it’s Close To Me being shaved off. This one hurts because it’s such an emotional sucker punch but up against the other ballads it’s the weakest. Now, we’ve got to get rid of James Joint for no other reason than it’s too short. This has been truly awful.