Barbados-born seventeen-year-old Rihanna moved to America only two years ago, but she's already scored one of the biggest hits of the summer, "Pon De Replay," a poppy piece of dancehall reggae with slapping, syncopated beats recalling big-band jazz. Produced mostly by Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers, the songwriting-production duo behind the worst boy-band hit of all time, 'NSync's "God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You," the rest of Music of the Sun lacks the single's immediacy and rhythmic ingenuity. Photogenic Rihanna suggests a young Mariah Carey minus the birdcalls, and the generic vocal hiccups and frills clearly learned from American R&B often overwhelm her Caribbean charm. At fifty-two minutes, Rihanna's debut overstays its welcome, but the single justifies plenty of replays.
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