Tonight I went along to the playback party for Rihanna’s new album LOUD at swanky, slightly out of date, London restaurant Sketch. It’s a dramatic turn from the moody, darkness of Rated R putting Ri-Ri firmly back on the dancefloor. Most excitingly, Rihanna herself was there introducing each of the five songs we heard and thanking us for coming to listen to her ‘silly music’. We had to check our phones so immediate tweeting was out and some of the names of tracks are possibly wrong Or I’m correct and the rest of pop blogosphere is wrong, obv.

We heard:

1. Only Girl in the World: single 1 and we’ve already got a dance routine which I attempted to shake my way through at the back of the room. Rihanna said that she felt the vocals in this song really pushed her and in order to get it right she waited until she had a 3 day rest in her schedule so she could rest her voice and bang it out.

2. What’s My Name: single 2 will appear on the album with a featuring credit from Drake but we heard the solo track tonight. Lots of mentions of ‘Hey boy… I need a boy…’ etc with some banging, banging steel drumming.

3. S&M: We’ve already seen Rihanna wrapped in chains so for this song she told us to expect a video that didn’t suit the lyrics and called the song itself sassy, in your face and baddass. It’s also the song that most represents being LOUD! It opens with lots of shouts of ‘NA NA COME ON’, ‘NA NA COME ON’ and goes on with lyrics like ‘There’s sex in the air… I may be bad but I’m perfectly good’ and the excellent ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but whips and chains excite me.’ It’s a massive dancefloor banger with huge, huge beats that would remind you most of Please Don’t Stop The Music.

4. (Drink to that) Cheers: ‘For all the semi-alcoholics in the world’ was how Rihanna introduced this heavy, grinding track that felt like it had a bit more of a mission that then other very party tracks. Slinky and dramatic it samples Avril Lavigne’s ‘I’m With You’

5. California Kingdom: This could be called California King Bed instead. This was the guitary ballad of the night and seemed nice enough but was certainly no ‘Take A Bow’ lyrically. It did however sounds like NeYo might have a hand in it somewhere.

Other things we learnt include

  • Rihanna likes to drink Jameson and ginger, have wine with meals and ‘hit the liquor’ if a club is playing bad music.
  • Her success completely change the way radio worked back in Barbados. Previously it was either very ballad, or very hip hop / reggae / rnb but now the island has been introduced to top 40 music and opened up many different channels.
  • She stated her annoyance with an album that you have to skip tracks or pick favourites out of. The plan for ‘Loud’ is that it makes you want to ‘press play’. Tell us about it love.
  • The album also contains a collab with Nicki Minaj. Everyone else seems to think it’s called ‘Raining Men’. I however heard ‘Uranium Man’. I think we know which would be better.