Little did she know as a 16-year-old Bajan girl, that Rihanna would become one of the leading forces in pop music. Since releasing her first album in 2005, the Caribbean songstress has reigned atop the pop world, with the sales of her albums, popular performances, and social media prowess.
Despite an impressive career to date, the singer is still just in her twenties. With changing up sounds, looks, and a decade full of iconic moments, we have decided to rank all of Riri’s albums.
8. Music Of The Sun
In the early 00’s Rihanna had a lot to contend with in the music world: Ciara, Christina Milian, Samantha Mumba, Mya, Shakira – the list goes on. This record ranked somewhere between these hot-for-the-moment singers. Despite its cool Caribbean vibes, dancehall beats, and R&B jams there was little on this record that stood as fresh, or new. Had it not been for the widely successful lead single, it is doubtful we would have the Rihanna we have today.
Highlights: Pon De Replay, Now I Know, Music of the Sun
7. A Girl Like Me
While she was still trying to find her feet, Rihanna debut an album full of versatility as she moved from dancehall beats, to R&B, pop, hip-hop, and rock. With sexy, sunny, and fun records it is a perfect summer album to make your body move to. Her slower jams are just as decent as her more tropical sounds, giving soft R&B sounds but failing to capture her emotional openness she is so good at today.
Highlights: SOS, Unfaithful, If It’s Lovin’ that You Want, We Ride
It took her seven tries but Rihanna finally hit the number one spot in the US with this album. While it is her only number one, it is not her best work to date. The album features great tracks that mis R&B with her regular pop and reggae vibe for upbeat dance tracks, as well as featuring the more stripped back cuts which feature Rihanna at her most relatable. While this record is heavy on the EDM bangers, it is her slower emotional tracks where she shines.
Highlights: Diamonds, Stay, Phresh Out the Runway, Pour It Up, What Now
5. Rated R
Released following the Chris Brown-debacle, this album was much darker, and moody than the majority of her previous outings. A divisive move it split fans, and critics with some saying it was her best work and others missing her usually upbeat pop style. There is definitely a feeling we are seeing a more empowered, and emotionally open side of Rihanna during this record. A cohesive, sonically impressive and thematically challenging and mature album it features RiRi aggressive, and vulnerable but we miss her lighter dance floor bops we count on her for.
Highlights: Hard, Russian Roulette, Rude Boy
4. Talk That Talk
Following her never ending Loud era, and the cultural effect that held, Talk That Talk was an album filled with dirty bangers. She had carved out her niche in the industry and was making the most of her position. The songs experimented with new sounds, and themes with a cool edge. Her voice is well suited to the bass-filled cuts on this album. ‘We Found Love’ is one of her best singles in recent history.
Highlights: We Found Love, Where Have You Been, You da One
We have already reviewed Anti HERE. While we were a little underwhelmed upon the first listen, mostly due to the lack of club bops, upon reflection it is one of the better pieces of work Rihanna has released. At the peak of her success she forgoes her usual number one formula by scrapping the safe tracks for a new, more interesting sound. She experiments once more with new sounds, and collaborations, resulting in some of her best vocals, and best overall pieces of work.
Highlights: Love On The Brain, Kiss It Better, Work, Consideration
After her dark, and tumultous turn on Rated R, Loud is where Rihanna made her pop comeback with an album full of fun, and breezy singles. It relaunched Rihanna to the top with endless singles, number ones, and exciting videos. Her most upbeat pop record to date, her songs were universally enjoyed while critics highlighted there was little correlation throughout. What other album can inspire an entire population of girls to all dye their hair bright red though?
Highlights: Only Girl (In the World), Love The Way You Lie, Cheers (Drink to That), What’s My Name
1. Good Girl Gone Bad
While she had been around with hits before, this was the album that cemented Rihanna in superstardom. Featuring more hits than a decade worth of albums, almost every song was a single and they stack up as some of her most successful to this date. While it is her most generic album in comparison to the sonic and thematic shifts she has undergone in eras since, it still holds a wide variety of our faves.
Highlights: Umbrella, Shut Up and Drive, Don’t Stop The Music, Disturbia, Take A Bow