It has been a minute since I last posted anything on here, but I’m back and I come bearing gifts…musical gifts, that is.
Now, we all know that it has been five years since Rihanna released her eight, and what seems to be her final studio album, Anti. Anti was a massive hit around the world and produced hit singles such as Work, Kiss it Better, Needed Me and Desperado.
Riri has been focused on her beauty line, Fenty Beauty and her lingerie line, SavagexFenty, and it seems to be making big bank because she hasn’t given the greenlight to any new, original music. I don’t blame her; if my side hustle makes more money than my main hustle. I’d abandon it too.
Anywho, I was going through a playlist created by a Navy (Rihanna’s fans are called Navy) and I started reminiscing about the good old days when she, Beyonce and Nicki Minaj were dominating the charts. I grew up listening to a lot of songs by these incredibly talented women.
One thing I have to admit is that Rihanna had hits and they still slap till date! If you say she doesn’t, you’re a liar and a hater. I don’t consider myself a Navy but even I have to say that she has made her mark in the industry.
After I listened to the playlist, I downloaded all eight of her studio albums, since we aren’t getting any new music, and I came to a conclusion:
She needs to release that ninth studio album or at least give us a snippet of something. The wait is unnerving.
But, while we wait, here are my top 5 Rihanna songs.
This spawned from her second studio album, A Girl Like Me and was the second lead single to be released. I wonder why it never got enough notoriety because she served some serious vocals. The storyline is basically Riri having regrets about cheating on her main guy and the video portrays that. It’s a plot that has been overused by artistes, I know, but I still like it. You could basically hear her emotions sweeping through as she sings so vulnerably about how she doesn’t ‘’want to be a murderer” because she knows that what she’s doing is wrong.
I don’t just listen to songs based on the vibe, quite frankly, I like songs that showcase the emotional intelligence of an artiste. It’s no surprise that this made my list.
4. Pon de Replay
‘’Come Mr DJ song pon de replay/Come Mr DJ won’t you turn the music up…’’
If you were a kid that grew up watching MTV, then you would have most definitely heard of this dance-hall track. It was literally always on repeat and it was a prominent feature at most parties.
It’s the lead single from her first studio album, Music Of the Sun and peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.
Riri showcases her Barbadian chops with this single as it is a fusion of pop, dancehall and reggae, It’s such a fun song, and it’s really catchy too. I especially love the fact that you can hear her native accent (some artistes from countries other than the US try to hide it) It makes the track even better and it gives it that breezy, tropical vacation feel.
When I think of the song, I think of an exotic vacation to an exclusive island where all that is being done is eating, sleeping and dancing with the stars all night.
3. Man Down
Another catchy song.
From her fifth studio album Loud, which happens to be my favourite album of hers, Man Down is a reggae infused song which sees Riri assuming the role of a fugitive who, after shooting a ‘’man down in Central Station,’’ expresses regrets about doing so. In the video, it is shown that the reason for killing the man was because he raped her. There has been some talks here and there that the reason why she chose the song to be on the album was because of the altercation between her and Chris Brown. Hence, it has lyrical context.
I don’t know about that and I won’t get into it either, but what I do know is that there is something about her music that makes you not hate it. She may not be the best vocalist in the world, but what she lacks in vocals, she makes up for it with catchy tunes, heavy production, reggae and dancehall inspired beats along with her raw and sometimes nimble voice.
‘’I want you to staaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy.’’
This ballad makes me emotional for some reason and it’s, in my humble opinion, the standout track from her seventh studio album, Unapologetic. It also features Mikky Ekko. First off, I love songs that aren’t heavily produced, just guitar strings and piano riffs would do it for me. Not only is it easy to play on the piano (yes, I’ve tried it), it’s also pleasing to the ears.
Rihanna and Mikky sing about true love and how it’s irresistible. The two lovers are playing cat and mouse (‘’Round and around and around and around we go…’’) all because they don’t want to admit that they love each other. At the end of the day, they want the other to stay because it’s the ‘’reason they (I) hold on.’’
I don’t know who is cutting onions but Rihanna’s vulnerability as she works through the piano riffs are stellar. There’s this break in her voice when she sings ‘’Staaayyy’’ and it’s heart-wrenching-in a good way. Mikky’s inclusion in the track was a brilliant addition because their rhythm and chemistry is spectacular. If you’ve watched the performance live, then you’d understand what I mean.
I can’t believe they almost scrapped it from the album.
Arguably, this is the biggest song of her career. Diamonds deserves the number one spot and for good reason. It spent about twelve weeks on the Hot 100, is certified DIAMOND by the RIAA and was named the number one song of the year back in 2012. It also got a couple of Grammy nominations.
It was written by Sia, took about fourteen minutes to write, and was the lead single off Unapologetic. It is such a positive and upbuilding song with metaphors and puns that reference to being happy in life and shining like…well diamonds.
Again, Rihanna showcases her vocal prowess over piano riffs and really did execute the song the way Sia wanted it. One of the producers on the track did say that Sia thought it was ‘’her own voice on the song’’ once she heard her (Riri’s) version.
A lot of interpretations have been given to the song, but I choose to interprete is as a song that motivates you to reach your full potential. We are all stars in our own right and everyone is unique, like diamonds. Hence, when you shine your brightest, no one can dim your light.
Other honourable mentions are: California King Bed, Work, What’s My Name, Te Amo, Hate that I Love You, Love on the Brain, Russian Roulette, Take a Bow and Where Have You Been.
What’s your favourite Rihanna song? Let me know in the comments section!
Till the next blogpost.