Released a year after Loud, Talk That Talk took the place of an expected deluxe edition of Loud (ala Girl Gone Bad Reloaded). It's a patchy affair, but like its predecessor, Talk That Talk boasts some really good songs that balance out the filler.
The biggest hit off this album is not one of Rihanna's best. 'We Found Love' boasts a terrific vocal from the lady herself, but Calvin Harris's production is cold and off-putting. A more restrained treatment ala the piano version of 'Watch The Way You Lie', with the emphasis on the vocal performance, would have been a better choice.
Of the rest of the songs, there are few real standouts. The bad songs aren't terrible and the good songs aren't that distinctive, so it just ends up kind of middling. In a weird way, it actually makes the album, as a whole, more enjoyable to listen to than Loud. I found myself letting the disc just play from beginning to end while I worked on other things. It's good background music -- take that statement for what you will.
'Cockiness (Love It)' is one of the few times Rihanna goes back to the Rated R well --it's one of the album's best tracks, filled with dirty wordplay that feels designed to make you giggle while your granny blanches.
'Roc Me Out' is a fun, crunchy dance number that made me wish Rihanna would do a full-on rock song like Janet Jackson's 'Black Cat'.
The version I own is the deluxe version, with a few extra tracks. The best one is 'Fool In Love'. It is probably too much to read a bit of autobiography into this track, with its story of a woman trying to make peace with her parents about the bad man she loves. Featuring some great electric guitar from Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt, it builds to an awesome crescendo that serves as a fine curtain closer to the album.
Overall, I enjoyed Talk That Talk more than Loud but in the end it is a pretty average record. Quality-wise, the songs might be better on average than Loud, but it doesn't have anything as memorable as 'S&M', 'Only Girl (In The World)' or 'Love The Way You Lie (Part II)'.