The album differs from Rihanna's 2009 album, “Rated R”, which incorporates a prominently foreboding and angry tone and dark themes. “Loud” features up-tempo and pop genres, ranging from R&B and dance-pop to electro music, and marks the return to dancehall; a genre prominent on Rihanna's first two albums “Music of the Sun” (2005) and “A Girl like Me” (2006). It also incorporates rock in "California King Bed" and reggae in the Caribbean inspired "Man Down".
The album was a commercial success internationally; it debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first week sales of 207,000 copies, the highest first week sales of her career at the time. Since its release, it had sold over 8 million copies worldwide.