Rihanna's First Album Turns 10 – What Did the Reviews Say?

Everyone loved "Pon de Replay," but reviews of the 17-year-old's full-length debut were less enthusiastic

Photo: Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic

Rihanna‘s debut album, Music of the Sun, was released 10 years ago, on Aug. 30, 2005.

We’ve previously talked about the success of Ri-Ri’s “Pon de Replay,” released about four months prior to the first album, but if you don’t remember Music of the Sun, there’s probably a pretty valid reason: People didn’t really like it that much.

“Replay” is the song that people tend to remember when talking about the first phase of then-17-year-old Rihanna’s career, because – other than the fact that it’s amazing – it’s most indicative of what AllMusic called her “Caribbean-inflected urban” early sound.

Like “Replay,” Music was produced by Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers, the duo behind ‘N Sync’s “(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time on You” – which Rolling Stone identified as “the worst boy band hit of all time” in its 2.5-star review of Music – and a bevy of other producers and guest stars, none of whom have names that ring any bells. Though AllMusic also favorably mentions “Here I Go Again” and “If It’s Lovin’ That You Want” in its review, it notes that Music of the Sun “descends into faceless slow jams after a while.”

Entertainment Weekly praised Rihanna’s “vibrant vocals” on “That La La La” and “Let Me” but called the entire album “bland.” After comparing the beat for “Pon de Replay” to Lou Bega’s “Mambo No. 5,” EW predicted that “Rihanna’s fame will likely last longer than Bega’s, but it shouldn’t.”

PEOPLE, for what it’s worth, gave the album three out of four stars, writing that Ri-Ri “distinguishes herself from the pack of Ciara clones.” (Interestingly, AllMusic also made the Ciara comparison at the time, throwing in a reference to Ashanti to really date the review.) “Sheeny, age-appropriate ballads such as ‘Willing to Wait’ also display why [Rihanna] should be the Caribbean teen queen,” PEOPLE’s review concluded.

Although no one really remembers “Willing to Wait” as an amazing Rihanna deep cut, that prediction overall has actually aged pretty well.

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