Right out of the gate, Rihanna's new album is set to dominate into the foreseeable future. It's the best hip-hop/R&B album I've heard in a while, full of creativity, emotive songwriting, and forward-thinking production a la C. Tricky Stewart. Mostly, it's just fun. Stewart has dealt a severe blow to the current commercial hip-hop scene, which is plagued by generic, homogenized style, and inane lyrics. He has set himself apart from the pack with this album. And Rihanna is back and better than ever. This is only the beginning of her reign, as hot single after hot single will keep this album on fire throughout the year.
When it comes to remixes, Def Jam nails it. Seamus Haji & Paul Emanuel, Jody Den Broeder, and The Lindbergh Palace (Josh Harris & Jonathan Benedict) all provide excellent, pumped-up remixes of the song. I have a hard time picking a favorite here. All of the mixes have excellent production, feature the song effectively, and take it to a different (good) place. Jody's "Lush Club Remix" bangs out with a solid beat, uplifting synth work and stellar vocal arrangement. I love all the melody and chord changes in this mix; an incredibly musical remix. It's the mix I gravitate towards, it's very elevating. Broeder toughens up his sound substantially with his "Destruction Club Mix," laying down a powerful electro base as Rihanna rocks the vocals.
Finally, Seamus Haji & Paul Emanuel stop by to provide a killer funky house remix. It's bounce and fat low end work wonders. Again, great song and vocal treatment keep this remix a song, not a track. All of the remixers here prove why they are so well-known and loved- they bring quality to every level of their productions, with a fully developed understanding of beats, bass, melody, and song. They make it look easy, but don't be fooled, there is heavy knowledge behind every finger. For review purposes, if I had to pick favorites, it's got to be Jody's Lush Club remix. You won't go wrong with any of these remixes. Cheers to Rihanna tearing up the charts all year. It will be a fun run.