Even though Rihanna’s last album only came out three years ago, it definitely feels way longer than that.
I’m sure everyone remembers where they were when they first heard ‘Work’, whether you adore the song or not.
The single was addictive, and it’s all we’ve had while Rihanna pursues other endeavors besides music.
And so, in this Rihanna-related drought, we’ve decided to rank all of Rihanna’s albums in an 8-album long discography.
Every album has loveable qualities on their own and are all so different, which really, is a testament to Rihanna’s growth and versatility.
From the tropical beginnings of Music of the Sun to the genre-defying ends of Anti, only one can reign supreme – but will it be your fave?
8. Rated R – 2009
Listen to ‘Rude Boy’ from Rated R below:
It’s always a tough choice when organising a pretty flawless discography into a ranking system, however, Rated R deserves the bottom spot.
Besides main singles ‘Rude Boy’ and the seemingly time-forgotten ‘Rockstar 101’, the rest of the album has not aged well at all.
As a kind of strange attempt to prove herself edgy and different, Rated R fails to keep the listener’s attention the whole way through, haphazardly switching genres in a way that is nowhere close to gripping or intriguing.
I mean, this isn’t even the album with ‘Disturbia’ on it, which definitely altered Rihanna’s image to a much darker tone.
Highlights: ‘Rude Boy’
7. A Girl Like Me – 2006
Listen to ‘SOS’ from A Girl Like Me below:
Rihanna’s second album and the rather quick follow-up to her debut album Music of the Sun.
There’s a reason that this album features a remix and a sequel to two different songs from her first, it needed the help.
While the album is by no means Rihanna’s worst (if such a thing exists), it does feel like her most lackluster and rushed, sans timeless hit ‘SOS’.
However, you can definitely feel Rihanna coming into her own on this album, with tracks only she could have pulled off.
Highlights: ‘SOS’, ‘Selfish Girl’.
6. Music of the Sun – 2005
Listen to ‘Pon De Replay’ from Music of the Sun below:
Have you seen the dancefloor when ‘Pon De Replay’ comes on? Floor. Filled.
Even in 2019, this album feels timeless, despite it being Rihanna’s first ever foray into music.
Mixing her Barbadian upbringing with timely R&B nuances perfect for the mid-2000’s, the album is a classic.
I mean, have you heard ‘Let Me’? The song is the definition of 2005 energy.
Highlights: ‘Pon De Replay’, ‘Let Me’, ‘There’s A Thug In My Life’
5. Good Girl Gone Bad – 2008
Listen to ‘Umbrella’ from Good Girl Gone Bad below:
‘Umbrella’, ‘Don’t Stop the Music’, ‘Disturbia’, ‘Take a Bow’, ‘Shut Up and Drive’, ‘Hate that I Love You’. That should be justification enough right?
2008’s Good Girl Gone Bad undeniably put Rihanna onto the map, with songs that have defined the late 2000’s all across the album.
Even the deep cuts of the album are pretty addictive, it’s just a pure celebration pop and R&B blended together perfectly right.
Also to be commended is how the album fuses Rihanna’s darker side on tracks like ‘Breaking Dishes’ with her more playful side on ‘Push Up On Me’.
Highlights: A good 50% of this album.
4. Talk That Talk – 2011
Listen to ‘Where Have You Been’ from Talk That Talk below:
Breaking into the world of mainstream pop, and losing most of her R&B tendencies and Barbados influences, lead to the birth of Talk That Talk.
This album was at the forefront of the trend of pop songs which had a chorus that consisted of mainly just a beat breakdown, which can be seen across multiple songs.
But the bangers don’t end on this album, and even left-of-centre jams like ‘Cockiness (Love It)’ which utters “I want you to be my sex slave”, don’t really feel out of place.
Definitely, this album is a showcase of how experimenting and trying something more mainstream doesn’t always equate to selling out your authenticity or unique sound.
Highlights: ‘Where Have You Been’, ‘Watch n’ Learn’, ‘Talk That Talk’.
3. Unapologetic – 2012
Listen to ‘Stay’ from Unapologetic below:
Ask any fan of Rihanna’s and most will tell you that they have a love-hate relationship with Unapologetic.
While the album is top to bottom filled with some of the stars greatest songs, it by no means the most accessible, requiring a few listens to fully appreciate.
Starting with runway jam ‘Phresh Out the Runway’ and ending with the drum-heavy ‘Lost In Paradise’, the album can easily feel messy at times.
However, it brandishes how to mix genres the right way, and ironically, does so in an unapologetic fashion.
Highlights: ‘Loveeeeeee Song’, ‘Love Without Tragedy/Mother Mary’, ‘Pour It Up’.
2. Loud -2010
Listen to ‘What’s My Name’ from Loud below:
Where were you when ‘S&M’ was banned in 11 countries?
Red-haired Rihanna was something else. It was a period of the artists most addictive and beautifully created songs, without feeling disingenuine to Rihanna herself.
The album proved that the artist wasn’t just someone who relied on singles but could create a top-to-bottom album experience as well.
Endlessly addictive from start to finish, there are very few flaws on Loud, which lands it as Rihanna’s second best album to date.
Highlights: ‘Man Down’, ‘Only Girl (In the World)’, ‘S&M’, ‘California King Bed’.
1. ‘ANTI’ – 2016
Listen to ‘Needed Me’ from ANTI below:
Opening with the then-mostly-unknown SZA on the first track, and never letting up from there, ANTI is Rihanna’s most exceptional album to date.
The record does things that most pop stars, R&B stars, and musicians, in general, wish they did instead. It was ahead of its time in multiple aspects.
ANTI mixes musicianship with gut-wrenching mood on tracks like ‘Love On the Brain’, and also introduced the world to the endlessly addictive ‘Work’.
On top of this, ANTI was the first album that Rihanna admits to being something she’s wholly proud of. The artist made the music she wanted to, and it all translated so beautifully.
Highlights: Whole thing. Top to bottom.