Rihanna refused to stop making hit albums. She returned to the music scene with her fourth CD titled Rated R in 2009. The singer released six singles from the CD. “Russian Roulette,” “Hard,” “Wait Your Turn,” “Rude Boy,” “Rock Star 101,” and “Te Amo,” were the hit singles from the CD. Rihanna followed up Rated R with Loud in 2010. She was dealing with personal demons and decided to change her style up for this CD. She scored three number one singles from this project. The number one singles are, “Only Girl (in The World),” “What’s My Name,” and “S&M”. Rihanna released her sixth album titled Talk That Talk in 2011. The CD produced her 11th number one single titled, “We Found Love.” The singer released her seventh album Unapologetic in 2012. The album contains her 12th number one single, “Diamonds.” She took a break between CDs before releasing her eighth studio album. Rihanna released Anti in 2016. The project was considered one of the best selling albums by a female during that decade. The CD has the number one single, “Work.”
Like most singers, she threw her hat in the acting ring. Rihanna made a cameo appearance in the movie Bring It On: All or Nothing in 2006. She had her first starring role in Battleship in 2012. She appeared in the movies This is the End (2013), Home (2015), Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017), Ocean’s 8 (2018), and Guava Island (2019). Rihanna also decided to expand her brand by becoming a businesswoman. She released a fragrance line in 2011. It was a successful venture for the singer/actress. In addition to the fragrance line, she started a cosmetics company called Fenty Beauty in 2017. The company is worth over $10 million. She released her fashion line called Fenty in 2019.
Rihanna is one of those vocalists that has that million dollar hit single voice without being a belter like a Mariah Carey or Christina Aguilera. Rihanna is more like a modern day Ronnie Spector ofr June Christy. Rihanna is a hit machine with a voice incredibly addicting to both male and females. An artist that has worked incredibly hard at staying on top and delivering music fresh, exciting and real. It was tough to only pick 10 Rihanna songs for this list, but that’s the name of the game. We picked 10 gems and included the incredibly smoking videos that go along with them. Enjoy this one, its hot!
# 10 – Diamonds
We open up our top 10 Rihanna Songs list with Rihanna’s killer song “Diamonds.” The song appears on the Unapologetic CD. This was the first single from the album. It was a great way to kick off the album. The song is a midtempo pop, electronic, and r&b track. The synthesizers, orchestral sounds, and electronic rhythms dominate the music. She shifted subjects with this track. Her previous tracks were mostly about heartbreak and betrayal. This song is about the hope of love. The track was very successful for Rihanna because it sold over six million copies.
Rihanna showcases her mezzo-soprano vocals in the song. She sings in her normal pitch for the verses and switches things up in the hook. She shows versatility in the hook by singing high and low. She belts in the hook and she pulls it off. She sounds sharp on other tracks when she belts, but she managed to make it work in this track. Singer and songwriter Sia wrote this track and her style is evident in the song. Rihanna is channeling Sia in the song. It’s almost easy to picture Sia singing this track too.
# 9 – SOS
Continuing with our top 10 Rihanna Songs list we turn to Rihanna’s classic song SOS. The song is featured on A Girl like Me. This is the first single from the CD. This is her first number one single. It basically made Rihanna a household name. This is a dance song, which samples, “Tainted Love,” by Soft Cell. The song is very radio friendly and had massive crossover appeal. The song was originally given to singer Christina Milian, but she turned it down. Milian’s loss was Rihanna’s gain because it was a smash hit for the singer.
The song’s about someone who needs help in her relationship. She needs saving. The sample works for this song because the music is infectious. Rihanna doesn’t miss a beat while singing the lyrics. She sings in time with the music changes throughout the song. She mainly sings the song in her lower register and comes up an octave when she sings the hook. She even performed a couple of runs in the songs, which she doesn’t usually attempt to do.
# 8 – Shut Up and Drive
This song is featured on the Good Girl Gone Bad CD. This is the second single from the album. It wasn’t well received by the critics, which is a shame because it’s a great song. The song is a new wave track. Rihanna wanted to do a rock song so the writers found a way to mix rock with pop music. The song contains a sample of New Order’s song, “Blue Monday.” The writers had Fergie’s song, “Glamorous” and Sheila E’s song, “Glamorous Life,” in mind when this song was created so that was a different sound. The guitar is the star of the track. Rihanna’s vocals matched the guitar riffs. She sang in her lower register, which is perfect with the guitar riffs. The song is about sexual innuendos and using cars as metaphors about it. It’s not everyday a person could get away with singing a song about sex using car metaphors, but Rihanna manages to pull it off.
# 7 – Please Don’t Stop the Music
The track is on the Good Girl Gone Bad album. This song is the fourth single from the CD. The song is a mix of dance and pop music. The song samples Michael Jackson’s, “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.” The song is basically about dancing. The sample really helps make the song pop. She uses an interpolation of WBSS throughout the song so it sounds as if she’s singing a duet with the King Of Pop. She sings the song in a higher key. The song is like other songs about dancing all night in club, but she manages to do something different with it. She made it sound extremely catchy and it’s impossible to sit through the song without dancing. Her vocals aren’t the strongest on this track, but she didn’t need to do a lot of belting to make this song work. Beyonce’s vocals would have been a perfect match for this track, but Rihanna does an excellent job with it.
# 6 – Hard ft. Young Jeezy
The song is featured on Rated R. The track is the second single from the CD. It’s a hip hop song with a rock beat to it. Rihanna wanted to do something different so The Dream and Tricky Stewart took a chance with this track. The song gave the singer a chance to sing about arrogance and attitude. It gave her a chance to show her spicy side. She’s telling the world she’s the best at what she does. She doesn’t have too many hip hop tracks like this one so it was a new change for her. She sounds similar to Beyonce’ in the verses and sounds like herself on the hook. She belts in the hook and it works perfectly with the music. Rihanna and Young Jeezy get their chances to shine in their parts of the track.
# 5 – Only Girl (In the World)
“Only Girl in the World” is on the Loud album. It’s the first single. The music is a mix of dance, pop, and electronic music. The track is about Rihanna demanding attention from her lover. She wants to the only girl in his world just like the title implies. She sings the song in her higher register. She shows passion in the hook as she’s letting her lover know she wants to be the only girl in his world. She had the potential of being sharp because she was singing in her upper register. It was out of her range a little, but it didn’t hurt the song. She does shout a lot in the hook, which could have been a disaster since she’s not a power balladeer, but the music saves her from being too sharp. She manages to control it enough without being too hard to listen to throughout the song.
# 4 – Take A Bow
“Take A Bow” is from the Good Girl Gone Bad Reloaded CD. This ballad is a mix of pop and r&b. This anthem is about her putting her cheating man out. She doesn’t want to hear anything he has to say because she wants him gone. She sounds very similar to Beyonce in the song. The song sounds eerily similar to Beyonce’s, “Irreplaceable.” Singer Ne-Yo wrote both songs so it’s not a surprise the songs sound similar to each other. Ne-Yo brought out the best in Rihanna’s vocals. She mixes her upper and lower registers in the song. The music is soft so she controls herself enough not to over singing the song. She sings it with a lot of passion as if it were about someone in particular. It’s not a surprise the song managed to hit the top of the charts because it’s flawless.
# 3 – Disturbia
The track is from the Good Girl Gone Bad Reloaded CD. It’s the third single from the CD. It’s a combination of dance, electronic, and pop music. The up-tempo beat is catchy and infectious. It is perfect for dancing at home or in a club. It has a thumping beat to it. She sounds very similar to Beyonce’ once again. It’s easy to picture Beyonce’ singing this track. Her voice blends in so well with the music.
Rihanna sings in time with the beat and that makes for an amazing song. She sings in her upper and lower registers. She manages to hold little notes when she ad libs. The track is about someone going through mental anguish. It’s a very unusual subject for a song, but she pulls it off. Chris Brown wrote the song. He was her boyfriend when he wrote the song. He was originally planning to sing the song himself, but he wanted the story told from a female’s perspective. He made the right decision because it’s hard to picture Brown singing this track. It’s not a surprise the song was a hit for Rihanna because it’s a fantastic song. She doesn’t enunciate enough on the song, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a great one.
# 2 – Umbrella ft. Jay Z
“Umbrella,” is from Good Girl Gone Bad . This is the first single for the CD and it was great way to introduce the project. The song is a mix of pop, r&b, hip hop, and rock music. Rihanna wasn’t the first choice for the song and it’s hard to believe after listening to it. Mary J. Blige and Britney Spears were originally supposed to sing this song. They turned it down and it became a hit for Rihanna. The music grabs you as soon as you hear the drum and cymbals. The infectious beat commands you to get up and dance.
The song is perfect for radio and had massive crossover success. The Dream and Tricky Stewart wrote the infectious track. It’s hard to believe that a song with the title umbrella could be a good song, but she managed to make it happen. Blige and Spears’ loss was definitely Rihanna’s gain because this song is considered one of the greatest songs of all time. She sings the song in her natural voice and uses her accent is in the song. It gives the song a reggae sound. She belts and holds notes in the bridge as well as towards the fade out of the song. Jay Z’s doesn’t dominate the song by rapping too much. He allows Rihanna to shine in the song. The song will stay in your head long after you stop listening to it.
#1 – Hate That I Love You ft. Ne-Yo
We close out our Top 10 Rihanna songs list with our favorite Rihanna song “Hate That I Love You.” The song was released on the album Good Girl Gone Bad . It’s the third single from the album. The song is a midtempo r&b and folk song. It’s a duet with Ne-Yo. They are telling the story about not wanting to love someone they hate. It’s told from both points of view. They work well together. They both shine on the song. They are in perfect pitch with the music throughout the track. Ne-Yo sings his parts as if he wrote the song himself. It sounds similar to his songs. The song sounds like his song, “Sexy Love.” Their voices are a musical marriage. They hold notes after the bridge and it worked. She sounds like Beyonce’ and he sounds like Michael Jackson on the track. They should do more songs like this because this was an excellent track for both singers.
Top 10 Rihanna songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2020
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