When talking about the most influential female pop stars of the 21st century, Rihanna undeniably tops the list. From her debut in 2005 to her multi-genre explorations, Rihanna has demonstrated remarkable versatility. Whether you enjoy her for her club anthems or her soulful ballads, the Barbadian singer has something for everyone. Here’s a rundown of 27 of her best songs:
27. Who’s that Chick? (2010)
This dance-pop track, featuring David Guetta, is irresistibly catchy and perfect for lighting up the dance floor. “Who’s that Chick?” exhibits Rihanna’s flair for energetic, upbeat songs.
26. Rehab (2008)
In collaboration with Justin Timberlake, “Rehab” is a soulful ballad that explores the pain of a complicated relationship. The song showcases Rihanna’s emotional depth and vocal prowess.
25. Te Amo (2010)
In this romantic track, Rihanna sings of a love that’s intense but unrequited. With its sultry beat and heartfelt lyrics, “Te Amo” captures the complexity of love and attraction.
24. Shut Up and Drive (2007)
This energetic rock-infused track is a departure from Rihanna’s usual style, showcasing her versatility. “Shut Up and Drive” is an empowering anthem about taking control and forging your own path.
23. Pour It Up (2012)
This trap-influenced song is a celebration of opulence and self-sufficiency. “Pour It Up” oozes confidence and is a testament to Rihanna’s knack for trendsetting.
22. Birthday Cake (2011)
This provocative track is known for its sexually explicit lyrics and thumping beat. “Birthday Cake” may be controversial for some, but it’s undeniably catchy and memorable.
21. Take Care (2011)
A collaborative effort with rapper Drake, “Take Care” explores the vulnerabilities and uncertainties in a relationship. Its melancholy tone and sincere lyrics make it a standout track.
20. Loveeeeeee Song (2012)
Featuring rapper Future, this song delves into the concept of wanting more in a relationship. “Loveeeeeee Song” is a sultry, slow-paced track that showcases Rihanna’s emotional range.
19. Pon De Replay (2005)
This debut single catapulted Rihanna into stardom. With its infectious beat and dancehall influence, “Pon De Replay” remains a timeless bop that introduced the world to Rihanna’s unique style.
16. SOS (2006)
“SOS” was one of Rihanna’s earliest hits, showcasing her pop sensibilities. The song samples Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love,” and helped establish Rihanna as a pop icon.
15. What’s My Name (2010)
Featuring Drake, “What’s My Name” is known for its sultry vibe and memorable hook. The song further solidified Rihanna’s status as a versatile artist, able to cross genres effortlessly.
14. We Found Love (2011)
Produced by Calvin Harris, “We Found Love” became an instant classic, blending elements of dance and pop. The song is often noted for its iconic music video as well.
13. Rude Boy (2010)
“Rude Boy” is an upbeat dancehall-inspired track that became a commercial success. Its catchy lyrics and upbeat tempo make it a go-to party anthem.
12. Love the Way You Lie, Pt. II (2010)
This song serves as the follow-up to Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie,” featuring Rihanna. In this version, Rihanna takes center stage, offering a different perspective on the complex emotions involved in the relationship described in the song.
11. S&M (2010)
“S&M” is a provocative track that blends elements of pop and dance. The song, along with its controversial music video, sparked conversations about sexuality and freedom of expression.
10. Man Down (2010)
“Man Down” stands out for its reggae influences and storytelling lyrics. The song tackles serious themes and became notable for its socially conscious message.
9. Only Girl In The World (2010)
“Only Girl In The World” is an electropop anthem that has become one of Rihanna’s signature songs. Produced by Stargate, it captures the essence of wanting to feel unique and cherished in a relationship. The song won a Grammy Award and is frequently associated with Rihanna’s bold and empowered image.
8. Take a Bow (2008)
“Take a Bow” is a departure from Rihanna’s usual upbeat tracks, offering a more somber take on the end of a relationship. The song received critical acclaim for its lyrics and Rihanna’s vocal performance, becoming a commercial success and topping multiple charts worldwide.
7. Diamonds (2012)
“Diamonds” serves as a sparkling jewel in Rihanna’s discography. Written by Sia, it is an uplifting song about self-worth and the enduring human spirit. The track became one of Rihanna’s most commercially successful songs, and its longevity on the charts speaks to its universal appeal.
6. Disturbia (2007)
“Disturbia” is a dance-pop track with a dark, almost haunting undertone. The song deals with feelings of anxiety and confusion, using catchy beats and melodies to underscore its darker themes. The track became a Halloween favorite and further demonstrated Rihanna’s versatility as an artist.
5. Stay (2012)
“Stay” is a duet with Mikky Ekko that strips away the elaborate production common in many of Rihanna’s other songs, leaving raw emotion at its core. The poignant lyrics and intimate piano arrangement make it one of her most emotionally resonant tracks, appreciated for its vulnerability.
4. Russian Roulette (2009)
“Russian Roulette” is a compelling ballad with intense storytelling. It marks a darker shift in Rihanna’s career, exploring themes of fear, risk, and emotional intensity. The song received widespread critical acclaim and is often cited as one of her most underrated works.
3. Love the Way You Lie (2010)
This song, a collaboration with Eminem, explores the complexities of an abusive relationship. It was commercially successful and sparked conversations about the topic it addressed. Rihanna’s vocals offer a haunting counterpoint to Eminem’s intense rapping, making it one of the most memorable collaborations of the decade.
2. Unfaithful (2006)
“Unfaithful” is a heartbreaking ballad about guilt and regret, providing a then-young Rihanna with an opportunity to showcase her vocal range and emotional depth. The song, penned by Ne-Yo, received critical acclaim and solidified her status as a versatile artist capable of handling complex themes.
1. Umbrella (2007)
“Umbrella,” featuring Jay-Z, is often considered Rihanna’s breakthrough song. It’s a powerful pop and R&B track that became a cultural phenomenon, even earning a Grammy. The song is lauded not just for its catchy melody, but also for its themes of friendship and loyalty, solidifying Rihanna’s status as a pop icon.
Each of these songs plays a significant role in Rihanna’s illustrious career, demonstrating her incredible range and ability to tackle various genres and themes. Her music has had a lasting impact, not just on the charts but in shaping conversations around love, self-worth, and social issues.