Track 6: “Birthday Cake”
Sounds Like: Well, first it must be noted that it sounds like less than one minute and a half. The fade-out isn’t exactly graceful; it happens mid-verse, mid-lyric. We’re going to call this an incomplete leak and call the suspense our due punishment for hearing this “version.” What we do have, however, is pretty enticing: Hoover synths on the intro, synth handclaps that work for once, sinuous and/or Eastern-ish instrumental touches and lots of chanting. There’s also a hard-to-ignore, hard-R extended metaphor–which makes sense, considering this is Talk That Talk‘s one The-Dream track.
Pros: “Birthday Cake” is certainly one of the more hypnotic tracks on Talk That Talk, and Rihanna’s delivery is more playful than blaring, a good sound for her. The harmonies on the second verse also sound promising, at least from the handful of seconds we’ve heard. We’re pretty sure the full track might bump this up a half-star; that’s a good sign.
Cons: You will absolutely need headphones when you listen to this, unless you have an extremely high threshold for embarrassment and/or an inability to blush. The lyrics are… unsubtle. How unsubtle?
Hard-R Lyric: Well. There are two ways to interpret this. The obvious one, because cursing makes everything obvious, is “I wanna fuck you right now” or possibly “I’m gonna make you my bitch.” The one that sinks in five minutes later is “come and put your name on it.” Just… trust us on that, OK?
Single-Worthy? We’d say we’d need more than 1:18 to make that call, but uh, there’s no way in hell this is going out to radio. Case study: Katy Perry’s “Peacock,” which has the exact entendre you’d expect but compared to this is a Disney ballad. She released “The One That Got Away” over it, which says it all.