Singer, songwriter, fashion star, makeup mogul, and all around multi-hyphenated queen: Rihanna is truly a one-of-a-kind entertainer. Since bursting onto the scene in 2005 with a little help from Def Jam Recordings, she’s been a staple of pop culture, and we can’t help but keep wanting more. (Plus, without Rihanna, we would have never been gifted Tom Holland’s iconic performance on Lip Sync Battle, and that’s just a reality in which none of us want to exist.)
While Rihanna’s fans (known as The Navy) are still hoping for another full-length release from the Barbados-born artist, 2022 did help tide us all over with Rihanna’s contributions to the soundtrack for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. As Rihanna’s Super Bowl Halftime Show is quickly approaching, we’ve taken a look through her discography and rounded up ten highlights.
Check out our list of ten favorite Rihanna tracks below, and scroll to the end for a playlist. Finally, you can tune into Super Bowl LVII on February 12th to see RiRi perform at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
— Mary Siroky
10. “Umbrella” (with JAY-Z)
With this 2007 track, Rihanna joined the likes of Prince, Garbage, and The Weather Girls by crafting a precipitation-oriented bop. There’s an argument to be made that it’s Rihanna’s most ubiquitous song, equally appropriate for night clubs, bar mitzvahs, and cranked loud in mini-vans during carpool. The accompanying video won Video of the Year at the 2007 VMAs, it took home Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the Grammys, and it’s been covered by artists like All Time Low, Train, Manic Street Preachers, and Taylor Swift. When it’s a rainy day, don’t lie: You hum “time to grab my um-buh-rella-ella-ella-ella-ay-ay-ay” before walking outside. Everyone does that, right? — Spencer Dukoff
09. “Pon De Replay”
Rihanna’s first-ever single is foundational to the story of the global superstar we know today. Think back to 2005, for just a moment. It was a different time, and one in which this song feels clearly time-stamped. RiRi was only seventeen — a whole teenager! — when “Pon De Replay” was released, which speaks to her hit-making sensibilities. The dancehall bop peaked at No. 2 in the US, and Rihanna was officially introduced to the world. In the almost eighteen years that have passed since “Pon De Replay” first took over the airwaves, it still has yet to lose its sparkle. — M. Siroky
“SOS,” the lead single from Rihanna’s second album A Girl Like Me, proved that Rihanna had countless more hits up her sleeve. Released less than a year after her debut, the tune is undeniably another early Rihanna banger, rivaling the confidence and sheer catchiness of “Pon de Replay” with its “Tainted Love” sample and nearly flawless vocal performance. While Rihanna would go on to continuously outdo herself, “SOS” was a foundational, incredibly fun stop along the way. — Jonah Krueger