Talk That Talk is the sixth studio album by Barbadian recording artist Rihanna and was released on November 18, 2011, through Def Jam Recordings. The lead single from the album, "We Found Love" featuring Calvin Harris, premiered on Capital FM radio on September 22, 2011, and was released on iTunes U.S. the same day. The album is rooted in R&B, dance-pop, and pop, but also incorporates a variety of genres such as hip hop, electro, trance, house, and dubstep.
Lyrically, the album speaks of love, sexuality, and empowerment. The album received generally positive reviews from critics, many of which complimented its departure from the dark themes presented on her fourth and fifth studio albums, Rated R (2009) and Loud (2010), respectively.
Upon release, the album received positive reviews from critics, complitmenting the evident change in genres, in comparison to earleir albums, with critics noting '.. Talk That Talk being not only the best effort of her career, but arguably the best pop album of 2011..'. Critics also complimented the '..sexy, tropical, rhythmic notion of love..' nature of the album. Prior to release, We Found Love, reached number one internationally, allowing Rihanna to reach the record for a solo artist to have amassed twenty top-ten singles in the history of the BillboardHot 100. Furthermore, this placed Rihanna as the seventh artist in the 53 year history of chart to amass at least eleven number one singles.
Background and Development
Following the release and success of Rihanna's previous studio album, Loud, the singer revealed via Twitter that the album would be re-issued with new songs and released in fall 2011, writing that "[t]he [Loud era] continues with more new music to add to [your] collection". In September 2011, Rihanna took to Twitter to confirm that plans for a re-issue of Loud had been scrapped, with the singer tweeting "I [thought about] a [re-release], but LOUD is its own body of work! Plus [you] guys work so [fucking] hard that [you] deserve to act brand new."
In an interview with Mixtape Daily, producer Verse Simmonds, half of the duo The Jugganauts, who wrote and produced the reggae-infused song "Man Down" from Loud, revealed that the singer was nearing completion of her sixth studio album in August 2011. The duo also said that they had penned two tracks for possible inclusion on the album, saying "From what I understand, she is closing the album up now, and we did two records for her that she really, really loved and I'm really excited about them as well" and also expressed interest in writing a third song. On September 15, 2011, Rihanna confirmed via her official Twitter account that recording sessions for the album were indeed underway, tweeting "I can't wait to start filling u guys in on some details!" The tweet was soon followed up by another, where Rihanna tweeted "*Zips lips*," implying that she would no longer talk about the project's development. Although the tweet suggested that the singer would not give any more details about the album, a fan tweeted to Rihanna asking when the album would be released, to which she replied, "THIS FALL!!!!!."
Title and Artwork
As part of the promotion for the album, Rihanna created a Facebook campaign page entitled "Rihanna: UNLOCKED", whereby her fans on Facebook are given missions to complete, in the form of games, in order to "unlock" new information about the album. On October 4, 2011, fans unlocked "Mission:5", which meant that fans had unlocked another piece of information from the album, with number five revealing the title of the album. The title, Talk That Talk, was announced via her official Facebook page. On October 10, 2011, after the Loud Tour concert in Glasgow, Scotland, Rihanna gave a copy of the album's artwork to a fan. The singer later tweeted to explain that the fan she gave the copy to was the only person outside of the singer's management to have seen the artwork up until that point, writing "One very lucky fan outside my concert just got the 1st album cover! She's the 1st to see it! Only 1 person in the world has it". The following day, fans unlocked "Mission:6" via the singer's official Facebook page, which resulted in Rihanna officially unveiling two artwork covers for the standard and deluxe editions of the album. The standard edition artwork features Rihanna "[licking] her coral red hued lips, posing in a camouflage sleeveless shirt with the album title tatted on her right arm".
Upon on unveiling of the standard edition's artwork, both James Dinh of MTV and a reviewer for NME commented that Rihanna looks "seductive" in the image. Gordon Smart of The Sun humorously criticized the standard edition artwork by saying that it looks as though the singer is trying to cover up a cold sore with her tongue, writing "It's easy to pick them up at this time of year – especially as she's constantly naked or attached to her new boyfriend Dudley O'Shaughnessy by the lips." Smart continued, writing "Let's hope they had some decent soap on set to remove the album title Talk That Talk from her wrist as well". The deluxe edition artwork shows the singer "[blowing] out a puff of smoke" and is shot in black and white. Rap-Up commented that the deluxe edition artwork features Rihanna billowing smoke out of her mouth whilst staring into the camera with "piercing eyes". Amanda Hensel of Popcrush noted that Rihanna is French inhaling the cigarette smoke, whereby someone takes a deep drag, then while the mouth is open and the jaw is slowly closed to force the smoke out, then inhales through the nose, thus inhaling the smoke drifting from the mouth. Hensel also commented that the singer looks "fierce" in both the standard and deluxe edition covers.
"We Found Love", featuring Calvin Harris, was released as the lead single from the album. It premiered in the United Kingdom on Capital FM radio on September 22, 2011, and was released the same day, and was sent for US mainstream radio adds on October 11, 2011. Critics praised Harris's production of the song, but criticized the lack of lyrical content, with many citing the lyrics as second best to the song's production and composition. Rihanna filmed the video for the song on September 26, 2011, in a field in Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland, and premiered on Whosay.com on October 19, 2011. "We Found Love" debuted at number 16 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and has peaked at number one, giving Rihanna the record for a solo artist to have amassed twenty top-ten singles in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the shortest amount of time. and tying her with Whitney Houston in third place amongst females with the most number one singles on the chart, behind Madonna, and [[Mariah Carey]. The song also peaked at number one in Denmark, France, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, and attained top-five positions in Australia, Finland and Italy. "You Da One" was confirmed by Rap-Up to be the second single from the album, being released on November 13, 2011. The singer appears smoking a cigarette on the single's black-and-white cover art.