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Rihanna, unapologetic (Mercury)

IN our post-50 Shades Of Grey society, are we as shocked by Rihanna's "whips and chains" as we were a mere two years ago?

Possibly not, given how professionally promiscuous the Barbadian superstar has been since, sharing a groove with both Coldplay (Princess of China) and our own Calvin Harris (megahit We Found Love).

Unapologetic inevitably follows Rihanna's formula for alternating the sex tiger/chart kitten sound and image across a series of boldly produced, rhythmically dazzling, marginally catchy R'n'B dance tracks. In between the obvious singles (Right Now, with David Guetta, the prime example), this seventh album in as many years actually pushes the chart envelope in terms of sonic audacity.

However, it's one thing to play up the sexual allure of a dangerous man (No Love Allowed), and another to use your star power to forgive domestic abuse (Nobody's Business, a duet with Chris Brown, who pled guilty to the felony assault of then-partner Rihanna in 2009). Write from the heart, by all means, but remember that the issue at stake is bigger than a pop career, and that calling your new album Unapologetic will offend many women across the world.

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