Mar 15, 2016 Music
There’s nothing quite as big, memorable or horrible as “Chandelier”, the hit from her last album, 1000 Forms of Fear, but the 40-year-old (whose shtick is never showing her own, unmodified face on artwork or videos) has once again squeezed out a 12-song monstrosity that tramples all over sophisticated notions of acceptable aesthetics in a headlong rush to encapsulate the most irritating mannerisms of modern pop: choruses so over-the-top that they soon become as tedious as the explosions in an action movie, lyric constructs that are as tired as Rip Van Winkle (“I’m a house on fire/I wanna get burning”, anyone?)
The tragedy of this is that if you take away the histrionics, her over-emphasised tendency to enunciate like she’s got a mouth jammed full of bubblegum, and songs that are clearly designed to order, there’s actually talent here. The hip-hop hybrid “Sweet Design” hints that this could have been a very different album, and it’s obvious she can out-sing and out-write many of her more glittering contemporaries. But you know, it’s only acting.
If this album has you bellowing along on its power choruses, you could try Rihanna’s Anti.