Robyn Fenty is pop-hip hop-reggae-R&B star Rihanna. She wears Swarovski crystals for fun and designer clothes because she can. She’s humble, proud, works hard, and will let you know if you’re doing something she doesn’t like. She is a champion and role model for young people everywhere.
Rihanna’s 2010 release Loud was the soundtrack to many millennial lives. Even though the album was released in November of 2010, it carried on to have hit after hit on the airwaves that continued well into the months of summer vacation for her younger fan base. Songs off of Loud like “What’s My Name?”, featuring rapper Drake, and “Only Girl (In the World)” are played repeatedly at proms, bars, parties (it’s weird to think that it’s a throwback track now), and still hold true to their pop flair nearly nine years later.
Many of Loud’s listeners weren’t old enough to “drink to that” like they’re suggested to in “Cheers (Drink to That),” which is what made listening to Rihanna’s music that much more enjoyable. The younger half of Rihanna’s millennial crowd wasn’t old enough to understand love (“California King Bed’), sex (“S&M”), or even what hangovers felt like, but listening to Loud, among her other albums, felt like a peek into adulthood. It was music you probably got in trouble listening to, but it was worth it. You felt free and like a badass singing along to “Only Girl (In the World).”
Rihanna also made sex a topic that women could talk about. This theme is echoed throughout Loud in general, but especially through her song “S&M.” Women were finally allowed to like sex, want sex, and to be openly sexual beings (whether other people liked it or not). She made anthems for women-identifying people in a world that doesn’t want them to win. When people sing the sex-positive lyrics “sticks and stones may break my bones/ but chains and whips excite me,” it affirmed that women could be independent, in charge, and not care what anyone else thinks.
Loud features a Caribbean influenced reggae track titled “Man Down.” Reggae flavor from Rihanna’s birthplace of Barbados makes an appearance in many of her albums, including her recent Anti. This pop-infused reggae style became Rihanna’s signature style, bringing a versatile take on music to Top 40 radio that was not usually heard there.
Rihanna continually graces listeners with quality anthems and ballads and shows no sign of stopping, even with being an ambassador to Global Partnership for Education, and owning her own makeup and lingerie lines. She was an integral part of many different peoples’ childhoods and coming of age stories, which everyone can thank Loud for.