Our article will look at The Real Meanings Behind Songs On Rihanna’s Rated R Album. This is Rihanna’s fourth album. It came out in November 2009. The album peaked at number four on Billboard 200 and number one on the r&b charts. Rihanna worked with The Dream, Ne-Yo, Young Jeezy, will.i.am, Justin Timberlake, Slash as well as other artists. Critics compared it to one of Janet Jackson’s personal albums. This album showed a different side of Rihanna. She was a different person. This is her most mature album to date. This is the first album she did where she could express herself the way she wanted to. She had more control on this album. Rihanna was no longer another version of Beyonce. She was creating a sound that was different from other artists.
Rated R came out after the successful Good Girl Gone Bad, so the pressure was on for Rihanna to release another hit album. Rated R sold over three million copies, so she was clearly up for the challenge of following up the successful album with another successful album. Rihanna covered the same topics as she did on her previous albums. She does talk about the abuse she publicly went through. She talks about staying on top of the music industry. She talks about her independence. The album is mostly about her relationship with Chris Brown. Rihanna kept quiet about what she was going through so she opened up about it on this album. The album features the singles “Russian Roulette,” “Hard,” “Wait Your Turn,” “Rude Boy,” “Rockstar 101” and “Te Amo.” This article will discuss The Real Meanings Behind Songs On Rihanna’s Rated R Album.
# 1 – Mad House
The first song on our list of The Real Meanings Behind Songs On Rihanna’s Rated R Album is “Mad House.” “Mad House” is about empowerment. The song is about embracing uncertainty. The narrator wants to express herself and she is not afraid to do it. Rihanna wants to inspire other people who are keeping quiet to speak out about what is bothering them. In the past, Rihanna has kept quiet about her personal demons, but she wants to speak out about it now. She wants others who are afraid to speak out to join in and express their feelings. The singer talks about keeping things bottled up. It didn’t help her to keep silent, so she wanted to express herself.
“Mad House” is a song that teaches you to have strength. She wants the listeners to find their voice and showcase their power. Rihanna wants the fans to take on uncertainty with strength. She knows that challenges are ahead, but she wants everyone to be strong so they can deal with them. The “Love on the Brain” singer shares how she felt like she was in a “mad house.” She felt like she couldn’t speak about what was bothering her. She didn’t want to be like that anymore, so she chose to speak out. Rihanna wanted the world to know what she was battling. This song was therapeutic for her.
# 2 – Wait Your Turn
The next song on our list of The Real Meanings Behind Songs On Rihanna’s Rated R Album is “Wait Your Turn.” “Wait Your Turn” is about taking advantage of opportunities when you get the chance. It can be about anything. It can be about work or someone you want in life. Waiting your turn is important, but it is also important to make strides to get what you want in life. Things may seem like they are hard right now, but if everyone works together, they can achieve their goals. This song is an anthem for people who work hard to be successful. It is good to be patient and work hard for what you want. She inspires people to stay dedicated to what they want.
There is a lot of competition out there, but she insists the wait is over. She informs the listeners that it may take a lot of tries in order to win, but if you keep trying, it will be worth it. She uses football imagery to talk about getting success in life. She warns people not to fumble the ball when opportunity knocks. If you don’t play your cards right in life, you don’t get the chance to call a timeout. Your chance is gone. This is the third single from the album. The song peaked at number 10 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 charts.
# 3 – Hard ft. Jay-Z
“Hard” is about overcoming obstacles. She wants to do whatever it takes to stay on top. She focuses on herself. She discusses her power and success. Rihanna was criticized by the media because of her personal life, but she wanted to focus on her music. The media went from talking about her career to considering her a victim. She wants to be defined by her music and not her personal life. Rihanna wants to reclaim her identity and her control. She talks about her dominance in the music industry. She wants the media to know that she is not a victim. She goes “hard.”
The “Umbrella” singer talks about being indestructible. She has a lot of attitude when she talks about her strengths. She doesn’t want anyone to feel sorry for her because she is not a victim. She goes into detail about the success she has had as a singer. She doesn’t want to be known as anyone’s victim. She wants to be known for her power and strength in the music industry. The song is a message to the media that she doesn’t care what they have to say about her. She is going to keep going no matter what they have to say about her. She informs the media and the listeners that she is tough like a lion. This is the second single from the album. The song peaked at number one on the dance charts and number eight on the Hot 100 charts. It sold over two million copies.
# 4 – Stupid in Love
“Stupid in Love” reflects on a former relationship. She talks about being in a relationship that was bad for her. She knew it was wrong to stay with a guy who put her down, but she did it anyway. Her ex-boyfriend lied to her all the time, but she overlooked it. He put her down a lot, but she convinced herself that he loved her. He was being a jerk, but she turned a blind eye to everything. She loved him, but she didn’t think he loved her. She admitted to herself that she was “stupid” for staying in the relationship. She talked to her friends about him, and they warned her that the relationship wouldn’t work. She knew the relationship was wrong, but she loved him too much to let him go.
Rihanna couldn’t bring herself to end the relationship even though he gave her no reason to stay. She was naïve and foolish, but she wouldn’t be “stupid” anymore. She wanted to see the good in him, but she believed that made her dumb. She had to realize he didn’t want the same things she wanted in the relationship. He was cheating on her, but she turned a blind eye to it. She was tired of being “stupid” so she wanted to leave. She tried her best to make the relationship work, but he insisted on putting her down. The narrator let him know that she wasn’t going to be dumb anymore. He won’t realize how good he had it until she’s gone. She asked him who the dumb one was after all.
# 5 – Rockstar 101 ft. Slash
The next song on our list of The Real Meanings Behind Songs On Rihanna’s Rated R Album is “Rockstar 101.” “Rockstar 101 is about her wanting to live her life to the fullest. The female protagonist talks about being a celebrity. She brags about the things she has. She walks in a club and starts flaunting around in it. She is feeling good about herself. She is very confident. She has the look of a rockstar. The only thing that is missing is her guitar. She talks about rocking out in big cities like a superstar. She wants to live the rockstar image. Rihanna wants the look to complete her image as a star.
The narrator wants to live her life without regret. Despite bragging about what she has, the song has a message. The song encourages listeners to follow their dreams and take risks to be successful. The is one of the dark songs on the album. Since she is singing about being a rockstar, it makes sense that she has a rockstar on the single. Slash appears in the song. This is the fifth single from the album. The song peaked at number 64 on the Hot 100 and number two on the dance charts. The song sold over one million copies.
# 6 – Russian Roulette
“Russian Roulette” is a metaphoric song about a tumultuous relationship. She compares the relationship to someone playing Russian Roulette. If you read the lyrics, you would think it was about a person who is about to die. If you look closer at the lyrics, you will see that it is about a relationship that is about to end. The song talks about the emotions a couple is going through when they know the relationship is over and done. It feels like a gun is pointed at you. You are nervous because you are not sure if you want to be out of the relationship.
You try your best to hold on even though you know the relationship doesn’t work anymore. Every time the chamber is empty it represents the chances you have given your relationship. The last bullet in the chamber represents the relationship coming to a screeching halt. The female protagonist is afraid to let go and must build up the courage to let her man know that she wants to walk away. She is hesitant about leaving, but she refuses to back down. She knows walking away is the only way to save her sanity. She is taking a risk by walking away but they don’t work as a couple anymore. She knows the consequences of leaving the relationship, but she must stay true to herself. This song could be about her rocky relationship with Chris Brown. Anyone who is familiar with Rihanna knows that she had a tumultuous relationship with singer Chris Brown. This is the first single from the album. The song peaked at number one on the dance charts and number nine on the Hot 100 charts. It sold over 2 million copies.
# 7 – Fire Bomb
“Fire Bomb” is a vengeful song about getting revenge on a former boyfriend. She wants to get revenge on a man who hurt her. The narrator is upset because he broke her heart. The song is about how love can take over your mind. It will make you capable of doing anything. She loved him, but he hurt her, so she wanted to make him pay. She wants to do something to him to make him feel the way she feels. The singer wants to see the look on his face when she gets revenge on him. She wants to metaphorically set his place on fire. She wants him to hurt so she isn’t the only one hurting. Once he is hurting, he will know what he put her through.
The narrator knows getting revenge is dirty and cold. She is too blinded by hate to think rationally. Watching him be destroyed makes her feel better. She feels the other half of her is gone and she wants him to feel the same way. Rihanna doesn’t feel she is guilty because he is the one who put the match in her hand. His actions are the reason why she wants to get revenge. She blames him for why they are both hurting. The message in the song is love can make you do crazy things.
# 8 – Rude Boy
“Rude Boy” is about control. She wants to have a bad boy that she can control in the bedroom. She wants to get the attention of the “rude boy.” The narrator likes a guy that other women want. She wants to get his attention by any means necessary. She wants to have her way with him in the bedroom. She thinks he has a lot of swagger and she wants him to prove it to her in the bedroom. In this song, she is the dominating one. She wants to control what they do together. She is giving him the chance to be captain in the bedroom. She wants him to make her feel good.
The narrator and her man will do whatever it takes to please each other. She decides to step things up in the bedroom. She believes she can make them both feel better if she is in control. She wants him to trust her and let her take over. The “Hate That I Love You” singer insists she knows what she is doing in the bedroom. She enjoys what he does to her, but she wants more. She wants to be the one in charge. This is the fourth single from the album. “Rude Boy” is the most successful single on the album. It peaked at number one on several billboard charts. It sold over three million copies.
# 9 – Photographs ft. will.i.am
“Photographs” is a sad song about the end of a relationship. She is heartbroken because she lost someone she loved. The only thing she has left of him are photographs. The female protagonist thinks about her relationship. She goes down memory lane and it makes her sad because she doesn’t have him anymore. She looks at the photographs to remind her of the times they shared together. She regrets that they aren’t in love with each other anymore. She tried to make it work, but their relationship ended. The singer is depressed because all she has left is photos of him. She misses him every day, so she looks at the pictures to remind herself of the times they had together. She finds herself confused because her relationship didn’t work out.
Rihanna questions why the relationship didn’t work when they loved each other. He was everything to her. She cries herself to sleep because he is gone. The narrator feels as if she has nothing left of him. She doesn’t want to be stuck in the past, but he was her world. She finds herself wishing every day that she could get him back. will.i. am talks about it from the male’s point of view. He talks about how he never stopped loving her. He knows the relationship is over, but he thinks about her all the time. He reminisces about the times they were together. He looks at the photographs too. He talks about how sexy she used to look. He also wonders every day why the relationship didn’t work out. The song was originally written for the Black Eyed Peas. Rihanna loved the song and pleaded with will.i.am to let her record it.
# 10 – G4L
“G4L” stands for gangsta for life. It is about her having her friends’ backs. She would do anything for her girls. The song is about empowerment. She talks about people standing together and being loyal to each other. She wants everyone to stand together as one during tough times. Rihanna wants women to protect themselves against anyone who gets in their way. She wants women to seek revenge against the people who try to hurt each other. Rihanna wants to pay tribute to women who work hard and get overlooked by the world. She wants to praise women who go to extreme measures to help other women. She lets her girls know that she will be down with them anytime they need her.
The protagonist informs her friends that if they are in trouble, they can call on her. She will take care of anyone who disrespects her friends. She is a “G4L” until the day she dies. She wants her friends to know that she doesn’t play around when it concerns her friends. She will be the first to help them out. Rihanna wants all women to feel this way about each other. There are plenty of times when women forget that they are supposed to stick together. This track is a reminder that women should support each other. She is committed to her girls, and she wants other women to be the same way.
# 11 – Te Amo
“Te Amo” is Spanish for I love you. The song is about a relationship between two women. The two women start off as friends until one of them starts to fall in love. Our narrator realizes that her friend is falling in love with her. The girl tries to seduce our narrator throughout the song. The narrator is confused because she didn’t expect her friend to seduce her. The seduction causes the narrator to question her sexuality. She is surprised by her friend’s advances towards her. She thought they were just friends until one crossed the line. The narrator and the friend used to tell each other they loved each other all the time. Our narrator didn’t realize they meant it in two different ways. She loved her friend like a sister, but the friend wanted more.
The narrator has a dilemma because she loves her friend, but she is not in love with her. She can tell that her friend is in pain because she expressed how she felt about her. She talks about the moment she realized her friend’s feelings changed. They danced together the way they usually did. The narrator looked into her friend’s eyes and noticed something seemed different. She realized her friend looked at her lovingly. The friend put her hands around the narrator’s waist and tried to kiss her. Rihanna rejected her advances, but she didn’t want to run away from her. The friend said she loved her, and the narrator realized that the friend was in love with her. By the end of the song, Rihanna doesn’t get together with her friend. This is the sixth single from the album. The song sold over 500,000 copies.
# 12 – Cold Case Love
“Cold Case Love” is an emotional song about a former relationship. The song is about the abuse she endured in the relationship. She talks about her boyfriend committing a crime against her. She says the love she had was gone. She was only willing to talk to him one more time. Rihanna was willing to take the blame for some of what happened. She was the victim of abuse, but she was the one being blamed for what happened. The media painted her up as the bad guy when she was the one abused. The media claimed that she caused her boyfriend to hit her.
Rihanna uses crime imagery to discuss her relationship. She talks about her memories consisting of investigations into the physical abuse that occurred. In the next half of the song, she beats herself up for not seeing the type of person he really was. She wants to leave the relationship behind her. When they were happy, the love was great. When it was bad, their relationship was bitter. Their relationship wasn’t given a chance, especially after the media put them under a microscope. Everyone was watching every move they made once the physical abuse occurred. She hopes that they can learn from the mistakes they made in their relationship. Justin Timberlake co-wrote this song. He was never in an abusive relationship, but he wrote the song from Rihanna’s point of view. He couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be in a relationship like the one she experienced. Rihanna reportedly admitted that this song is about her relationship with Chris Brown.
# 13 – The Last Song
The last song on our list of The Real Meanings Behind Songs On Rihanna’s Rated R Album is “The Last Song.” “The Last Song” is another song about the end of a relationship. She discusses how she and her man fell out of the love with each other. She talks about what could have happened if their relationship worked. She wants people to cherish the time they have with the person they love because there is no guarantee that relationships will last. Every couple doesn’t stay together forever. If you find that special person, you should hold on to them. She questions what would happen if love disappeared from the world.
Rihanna doesn’t want people to take love for granted because it may never come around again. She wonders what would happen if a sad song was the last song you ever heard. She would do whatever she could to find love again. She contemplates whether she should try again with her man. She thinks twice about it because she believes they tried their best to make it work. The narrator knows her relationship didn’t work, but she doesn’t want anyone else to feel the way she did. She believes they will miss love when it is gone. She believes people’s actions determine their futures. She thinks relationships can be beautiful if they are treated the way they should be.
Real Meanings Behind The Songs On Rihanna’s Rated R Album article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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