Break It Off
Label: Def Jam Recordings
A Girl Like Me begins with a bang, squirting 808 breaks and handclaps while quoting Soft Cell's classic "Tainted Love." Rihanna emerges from the flurry of pop ecstasy, singing in euphoric pleads that only barely betray her Caribbean heritage. The album rarely relents -- effectively distilling the spirit of Jamaica's dancehall and reggae genres for an American pop audience. On the heartbreaking and guilt-ridden exception to the rule, "Unfaithful," the singer offers a unique perspective on a clichéd subject by assuming the point of view of a reluctant cheater.