Unquestionably one of the pop world’s biggest icons of recent years, Robyn Rihanna Fenty, known simply as Rihanna all over the world, has changed the entire scene with her distinctive vocals and powerful lyrics, with her flawless fashion sense and mind-blowing beauty also playing a part in establishing her as one of music’s leading ladies. From her very first album, Music of the Sun, right up to her latest releases, Rihanna has delivered hit after hit, even working alongside other leading musicians like Calvin Harris and Eminem along the way. Here are 5 of her finest ever songs.
An instantly catchy classic that grips hold of the listener and never lets up, Diamonds was recorded by Rihanna as part of her seventh studio album, Unapologetic, and released in 2012. It was written by Sia and marks a shift in tone from many of Rihanna’s previous hits, which had largely focused on break-ups and difficult relationships to focus on a purer and happier kind of love.
The song was a smash hit, topping the charts in over 20 different countries and becoming Rihanna’s 12th number-one Billboard Hot 100 single. It was certified quintuple platinum and sold millions of copies.
FourFiveSeconds saw an interesting collaboration effort between Rihanna, Kanye West, and former Beatle Paul McCartney. All three were part of a larger writing team working on the lyrics, and the final song is an almost orchestral piece involving a variety of musical instruments and transcending multiple genres. West and McCartney give the song a solid foundation, but it’s Rihanna’s raw and powerful vocals that really bring FourFiveSeconds to life.
The song received huge acclaim from professional music critics and FourFiveSeconds made it to number four in the US, claiming landmark media top spot in charts in several other countries.
Released on Rihanna’s eighth studio album, Anti, in 2016, Love on the Brain was written by Joseph Angel and produced by Grammy winner Fred Ball. Rihanna contributed to the lyrics as well, as she so often does on her best ever songs. Inspired by 50s and 60s doo-wop and soul classics, Love on the Brain focuses on the ups and downs of a toxic relationship, in line with many of the singer’s other classics.
It was Rihanna’s 30th top ten single, putting her in the same category as Madonna and The Beatles, and it charted well in many other countries too.
For many years, Umbrella was Rihanna’s most iconic and instantly recognizable song. It was released in 2007 on her third album, Good Girl Gone Bad. Jay-Z featured on the track and helped to write it, and the song was initially intended for Britney Spears, but her label declined it, paving the way for Rihanna to take center stage. Featuring elements of hip hop, R&B, and even rock, Umbrella focuses on a positive romantic relationship and mutual care.
It spread like wildfire on release, topping the charts around the world and sitting at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for seven consecutive weeks.
Released on Rihanna’s sixth studio album, Talk That Talk, in 2011, We Found Love is arguably her greatest achievement so far. Scottish DJ Calvin Harris collaborated with the singer for the track, which also featured on Harris’ album, 18 Months. It sat at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for 10 whole weeks, beating the record set by Umbrella and becoming one of the best-selling singles of all time.
One of the song’s most memorable and repeated lyrics, ‘We found love in a hopeless place,’ tells the story of a track, focusing on a couple who managed to find their happiness against all the odds.