Pitchfucked: Rated R for domestic violence and tasteless jokes?

2 12 2009

Oh, Pitchfork. Your albums reviews are shining rainclouds in a world filled with rainbows and sunshine. You hate everything music has to offer, which seems strange considering you are a music publication, but that is just one of the many ways you Pitchfork people prove your superior wits to us lowly mouth-breathers. So let’s read one of your reviews together, so we can all be as educated on what should be considered good and what should be thrown into the Hudson Bay. Today’s album? Rihanna’s Rated R, brought to us by writer Ryan Dombal [note: Pitchfork, R&R]

There was an exact moment when Rihanna stopped being a milquetoast pop automaton and started to establish a persona unto herself.

Uh-oh. You can’t make this about Chris Brown and Rihanna. Domestic violence jokes are tasteless, and I have a soul to look after. Please, please don’t make this about the Doublemint kid.

It wasn’t “Umbrella”; however ubiquitous, that megasmash’s most meaningful and believable utterances– “ella, ella, eh, eh, eh”– meant nothing.

Yes, out of her entire musical catalog, I really thought “ella, ella, eh, eh, eh” was when she really separated herself from the pack. Those two words really changed her life. Don’t do this Pitchfork.

It wasn’t February 8, 2009, when Chris Brown beat her with enough force to warrant a 50-yard, three-year restraining order;

There it is, I’m fucked. We’re only three sentences in and … wait … it’s not about him? Well now I don’t know what to think, tell me more Pitchfork.

On 2008’s no. 1 single “Take a Bow”, Rihanna blew off a philandering numbskull and delivered her most realistic performance to date. When she scoffed “please” at the whimpering chump 43 seconds into the track,

Child, please.

she officially put the ice queen routine behind her and entered the realm of full-blooded pop stars.

When she stopped being an ice queen and started being an ice queen, that’s when she really started taking off!

Fallouts mark Rated R as well, though they are decidedly heavier. Over the course of the album, Rihanna puts a revolver to her temple on “Russian Roulette”,

Seems dangerous.

recalls “white outlines” on “Cold Case Love”,

“Horatio, all of the security cameras have been knocked out.”

“I guess that means (removes sunglasses) someone pwned the replay.”


and even threatens to crash head-on into a boyfriend on “Fire Bomb”– not exactly the most politically correct metaphor in the age of IEDs, but it does get her point across.

Right, how dare Rihanna refer to weapons that kill innocent people when there are television shows out there about serial rapists, murder, crime, war in which these use said weapons, drug-trafficking, aliens, polar bears on islands where planes crash and five friends living in New York City in which one of them is a gay actor portraying a ladies man. Have you no decency Rihanna? Have you no shame?

For every “Fire Bomb”– a stunningly overzealous power ballad Pink would blow shit up for–

… not exactly the most politically correct metaphor in the age of IEDs … Pink would blow shit up for– … it’s good to see that consistency isn’t high on the to-do list for Pitchfork writers.

there’s something like the actually-quite-dim “Stupid in Love” or the lost-in-translation lesbian farce “Te Amo”, both of which aim for Almodóvar but end up closer to Telemundo.

Certainly you know Pedro Almodóvar? The most acclaimed Spanish film director of his generation, according to my research on Wikipedia. You don’t? Well, that’s a lot of wasted cleverocity I just used, how many times do I get to review a Spanish-titled track? You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting for this! He made Volver! Damn it! You’ve ruined everything!

The ballads also suffer due to the fact that they require singing– which still isn’t Rihanna’s forte

Remember kiddies, you don’t have to be able to sing for shit if you want to become an international pop star.

The strumming “Photographs” comes replete with teary-eyed remembrances (“all I’ve got are these photographs”) and a hint of poignant anachronism–

Feed me Pitchfork, why the poignant anachronism? Why just a hint? Tell me more!

after all, most photos are a “delete” button away from nothingness nowadays.

GAH TECHNOLOGY! You always ruin our indie moments! Is nothing sacred anymore?

On the track, Rihanna is more wounded than ever, her voice offering as-yet-unheard levels of tenderness.

Oh my, you’ve really fallen for her. You’re so kind, so heartwarming, I didn’t know you were capable of such love it’s almost like—

Then, just as her sorrow peaks, the track is sunk by an infuriatingly tone-deaf and goofy verse from producer will.i.am, who can be a real asshole.

Yeah, that music producer I’ve never met, he’s a real dickface. Fuck you Will.i.am! I hate you for making music that I am paid to listen to. I hope you get pancreatic cancer.

It’s a frustrating moment from an album pockmarked with them.

It’s like God hand-crafted the album so it could be reviewed by Pitchfork. There’s nothing that gets our boner-killing writers worked-up like incessant nitpicking.

Talking about Rated R in a promo interview, Rihanna said, “Anybody can make a hit, but I wanted a real album.”

Must … not … can’t … do it … Momma raised me right …

Such is the flawed logic of a newly legal drinker who has known only skyrocketing commercial success.

Such is the convoluted rhetoric of a writer who deems it necessary to refer to Rihanna not by her name, but by the law which corresponds with her current age.

Based on Rated R, Rihanna’s artistic aspirations are currently loftier than her abilities.

Good aspirations. Lofty aspirations.

For a while, Rihanna lacked a compelling narrative but couldn’t yawn without hitting the Top 10. Now her story is overflowing, but her songs aren’t sticking as they once did.

We’re almost to the promise land. With my soul intact, too.

Not just anybody can make a hit, and no one can make hits all the time.


Rihanna – Rated R

1. Mad House – ★★★
2. Wait Your Turn – ★★★
3. Hard (feat. Jeezy) – ★★★
4. Stupid In Love –
5. Rockstar 101 (feat. Slash) –
6. Russian Roulette –
7. Fire Bomb –
8. Rude Boy – ★★★
9. Photographs (feat. Will.i.am) – ★★★
10. G4L – ★★★
11. Te Amo –
12. Cold Case Love – ★★★
13. The Last Song –

Rated R Total ★: 21
Rated R ★ Ratio: 1.61




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