Rihanna’s much-anticipated album, Anti, was surprise-released yesterday, the same day as the first single from the album hit the Internet.
In something of a botched release, a stream of the album was accidentally leaked in full on Jay Z’s Tidal music service yesterday afternoon. Anti was then formally released in full on the service a few hours later, a result of a reasonably clear-cut case of cat-out-of-the-bag syndrome.
The new record can be found on Tidal’s website, where fans can download a free copy by using the code ANTI — another last-minute addition that came via a tweet from the artist after the Tidal release became official. The album will be available exclusively via Tidal for one week, then move to other music services, according to Entertainment Weekly.
A genre-sprawling amalgamation of 13 tracks, Anti features collaborations with Drake, SZA, and an oddly note-for-note cover of Australian band Tame Impala’s song New Person, Same Old Mistakes. A seemingly odd release with a diverse array of material and no obvious single, the album has been met with somewhat harsh critical response.
Rihanna’s first release since 2012’s Unapologetic, the poor reviews come in large part due to the album’s lack of a unified sonic aesthetic, the sort of overt musical identity that most other pop albums come pre-packaged with.
With such a ho-hum response from the masses so far, perhaps the biggest waves Anti will make will be in influencing artists not to exclusively release material via Tidal. Especially if the record’s sales don’t match the typical hype associated with traditionally-scheduled cross-platform releases.
That said, perhaps fervor for the album will grow as fans get excited for the singer’s upcoming world tour, which starts late next month, and features high-profile backing acts like The Weeknd, Big Sean, and Travis Scott.