||Dancing About Architecture
Rihanna and the lost album saga
by Marc 'Moose' Moder
This article shared 3109 times since Wed Sep 2, 2015
Recently, our beloved Rihanna tried very hard to break out of her pop shell and go with an "edgier" sound, via Kanye West, and failed. All three singles off of the planned R8 album tanked, despite the help of a Beatle, an epic Tarantino-esque video for "Bitch Better Have My Money" and a warm reception for the politically relevantbut tepid"American Oxygen." Seems like she wanted to walk the path of BeyoncÃƒ©'s self-titled triumph ( artistic, yet accessible and well-thought-out ), but fell into Bey's "4" ( anti-pop to the point of bland and forgettable ).
Ri's not the first artist to toss out a realized album and start over out of frustration. Prince famously recorded the dark and angry Black Album during a rough patch in his life ( possibly fueled by drug experimentation ), and waited right up until the first run was pressed and ready to ship to stores before he realized it was a mistake and replaced it with the bright and spiritual polar opposite, Lovesexy.
After the critical success and breakaway from formula with Pet Sounds and the biggest single of their career, "Good Vibrations," the world was waiting for another masterpiece by Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys. Unfortunately, massive amounts of hashish, Quaaludes and depression, plus an odd collaboration with the heady lyricist Van Dyke Parks yielded The Smile Sessions, a group of recordings meant to be the follow up album, Smile. The Smile Sessions rambled on for a year and had no real catchy singles and was eventually abandoned by the band, then re-recorded poorly and on-the-fly as Smiley Smile, one of their worst and poorest selling albums, derailing their career permanently.
Dr. Dre is currently very high on his billion dollar headphones, hit movie ( Straight Outta Compton ), and now long-awaited ( and critically acclaimed ) LP, Compton. But it hasn't always been "Dre Day." Three of his projects have died on the vine. Helter Skelter, a dream album with Dre and Ice Cube with Snoop Dogg, was in the works but was murdered by a bad fallout with Death Row Records. Then, a similar NWA reunion met the same fate a few years after. The next decade it happened again with the follow up to The Chronic with fits and starts ( supposedly called Detox ), that took about 10 years, finally getting tossed aside in place of Compton.
Seems a shame that these, and hundreds other shelved concepts, might never see the light of day or only be released in cruddy, bootleg form, but if I've learned anything from years of research and illegal copies, some things are better left to your musical imagination and don't see the light of day for good reasons. Rihanna, we can "W8" for something better.
This article shared 3109 times since Wed Sep 2, 2015
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