Cold Case Love
Label: Def Jam Recordings
Hope Rihanna's still carrying that umbrella, because from the sound of Rated R, sunshine's a long way away. Written and recorded in the wake of ex-boyfriend Chris Brown's assault on the singer, the album bristles with anger and doubt, not all of it directed outwards. Sharing production duties, Chase & Status, Stargate, The-Dream, Ne-Yo and others favor dark, almost gothic sounds to fit the mood, with acoustic guitars and synthesizers drizzling over beats like freezing rain on a sheer cliff. For all the drama, it's shockingly intimate, especially on the confessional "Stupid in Love."