Hippo Manchester
September 15, 2005

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CD Reviews
by Amy Diaz

Rihanna, Music of the Sun

Def Jam Recordings, 2005

**

I give — the damn “Pon De Replay” has won.

Early in the summer the song by cute-as-a-button Rihanna seemed like just another surfer riding the dance hall wave. But at some point, July maybe, repetition and the infectious energy of this dancy little tune got to me.

“Pon De Replay” is clearly not just Rihanna’s ticket but her best song so far. (Though, at 17, I guess the girl’s got some time.) On the 13-track Music of the Sun (one of which is a “Pon De Replay” remix), that song stands far above the rest. “Here I Go Again” and to a lesser degree “If It’s Lovin’ That You Want” are charming and summery. But songs like “There’s a Thug in My Life” and “Let Me” seem overproduced and dripping with trying-too-hard. Take it slow, Rihanna, no need to be Beyonce tomorrow.