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Desert Island Disc Challenge: ‘Anti’ by Rhianna

A beautiful form of soul therapy.

Audrey Arellano

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Somewhere off of the coast of Spain or Barbados, on a deserted island, I would be laying out in the sun with sea salt coated hair while Drake sings “if you had a twin/ I would still choose you” faintly in the distance.

That song, “Work,” comes from the only album I would need on that deserted stretch of land — Rihanna’s long anticipated eighth studio album, Anti. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you I am a huge Rihanna fan, so naturally, I gravitated to this album.

After listening to the whole 16-track body of work, I realized this was my new favorite record. It is very personal and much deeper than anything else she has ever constructed. It took her nearly four years to push this bad boy out — and it was well worth every second of the wait.

Anti resonates with me so strongly. At the time of the album release in 2016, I was experiencing the beginnings of a very important turning point. I had just brought a relationship to a long-overdue end and all I wanted was to grow from it all.

This album quickly became a form of soul therapy for me.

Every song is filled with an endless amount of emotion that pours out from Rhianna’s voice. Songs like “Kiss It Better,” “Love on the Brain,” “Never Ending,” and “Close to You” put me deep in my feels. Whereas “Needed Me,” “Same Ol’ Mistakes,” and “Pose” make my inner boss lady shine through.

Listening to Anti leaves me on an empowering high.

Rihanna makes you feel like the baddest chick on the planet, and hearing that this strong woman deals with the same feelings of sadness and helplessness as you makes the work priceless.

Rhi wanted these songs to be genuine, — not just another pop album — and she accomplished that. I’m not sure if it’s because this came to me at a time of need or if because as an artist, Rihanna really came into her own with Anti. I can listen to it as if it was just released yesterday.

Another thing that made this album stand out for me is the album art. A photo of Rihanna as a little girl (on her first trip to daycare) with a crown over her eyes, is positioned over a canvas of red and white paint. The oversized crown covers her eyes, symbolizing how we often are chasing achievement but lose sight of what we are supposed to be on the lookout for: success.

I find that I constantly push myself to do better and do not give myself the credit I deserve. I needed to lift my crown to be able to look around and smell the roses. Everything about this album screamed my name and pulled me in instantly.  Now if I could just find this work of art on vinyl!

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Audrey is a Journalism and Creative Writing graduate from Southern California. Her passion for writing began when she was gifted her first journal on her eighth birthday. She has written for both her community college and university newspaper. Her first love is music. On her free time she likes to go crate digging at record shops, browse art galleries, travel, read, and go to the beach.

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