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Rihanna's "Talk The Talk" release tops iTunes

Singer Rihanna performs during a concert as part of her tour for her latest album "Loud" in Nilson Nelson gymnasium in Brasilia
Singer Rihanna performs during a concert as part of her tour for her latest album "Loud" in Nilson Nelson gymnasium in Brasilia

By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Grammy-winning singer Rihanna may soon be headed to the top of the album charts after her latest record, "Talk That Talk" reached No. 1 on iTunes on Tuesday, one day after its release.

The singer released early teasers online as much as a week in advance, helping push the album into the top 10 on iTunes. Fans took to Twitter and Facebook to call the album Rihanna's best yet. Critical reviews, however, were mixed.

"Talk That Talk" is the sixth studio album from the 23-year-old Barbadian singer, following CDs like "Rated R" and "Loud," which have seen her steadily evolve from teen pop star to adult performer since her 2005 debut. She has earned international success over the years with singles like "Umbrella," "Rude Boy" and "What's My Name."

The 11-track "Talk That Talk" features themes of love and sexuality with a mixture of up-tempo dance tracks and reggae beats on "Where Have You Been," "Birthday Cake" and "You Da One," along with ballads "We All Want Love" and "Farewell."

Rihanna also collaborated with rapper Jay-Z -- whose Roc Nation label manages her -- on the single "Talk That Talk" and Scottish producer Calvin Harris on chart-topping dance anthem "We Found Love." The record also features a sample of British indie rock group The xx's "Intro" on single "Drunk On Love."

The singer's fans were upbeat on Twitter.

@OhMy_Kayla said, "This TALK THAT TALK album by @rihanna is by far the best one yet!!!!,, I FREAKING LOVE HER," and @gabixballa tweeted, "I've only been listening to Talk That Talk since yesterday. Lowkey @rihanna's best album ever."

Despite the positive fan reception, critics delivered mostly mixed reviews, acknowledging the singer's move toward dance music but criticizing the lyrics.

New York Times' Jon Caramanica called the record "the blithest Rihanna album" and criticized the singer's voice for being "certifiably blank." Randall Roberts at the Los Angeles Times gave the album two out of four stars, saying it "contains little sweat, slobber or fluids and a lot of plasticized, inflatable insinuation."

British music magazine NME scored the album a five out of ten, and called it "annoyingly safe with just glimpses of what it might have been."

But not all critics were put off. TheWrap.com's Chris Willman called the record "less dark and more high-spirited" than her last two records, adding "the album is at its musical best when it sticks to dance music."

(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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