Are Rihanna’s ‘Anti’ Rooms Just Winchester Mansion-Style Portals to Nothing?
It's been 1,122 days since Rihanna released Unapologetic, and she has yet to release her eighth album. We know it, Sia knows it, and Rihanna definitely knows it. Anti's stilted rollout has been downright puzzling, with the release of three singles (frankly, only "Bitch Better Have My Money" was great in the way we've come to expect from RiRi) and many mysterious delays. And yet: We held out hope. When the singer unveiled her mysterious ANTIdiary site, our hearts leapt for a moment. Would Anti fall onto our Thanksgiving dinner plates? No, no it would not. And now Rihanna's officially trying our collective patience with the reveal of her latest "room."
While a promo campaign full of flagrant product placements is hardly new — Jay Z's Magna Carta-era Samsung deal was almost as exhausting — we need a bit more to hold onto at this point. Where is this all of this headed? What are these rooms? Is this art(Pop), or is it the marketing equivalent of the Winchester Mystery House, full of labyrinthine corridors and endless flights of stairs that lead to nowhere, designed to confuse us into accepting our less-than-useful surroundings?
Sure, Room 5 is stunning — we've all seen the "Stay" video, Bathtub Rihanna is a wonderful Rihanna. And yes, one does idly wonder why the child in an Anti-cover crown is lurking and peeping through the fogged glass. But you know what's not in this spot? New music.
The lack of substance is worrisome. And while Hits Daily Double is sounding the alarm once again, claiming a HUGE SURPRISE ALBUM is really truly coming our way this Friday the 18th, it's tough not to scoff and assume/hope the surprise will come from Frank Ocean.
We'll still follow Rihanna into any room on the strength of her previous releases. But with such a prolonged and uneven ramp up raising our expectations to near un-meetable levels, we're starting to wonder if she knows where she's taking us.
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