RANKED: Discography of Rihanna
It's been a decade since the world was introduced to Robyn "Rihanna" Fenty, an island gal from Barbados who stepped onto the scene with a major dancehall hit that would start a following referred to as the Rihanna Navy. In those 10 years, Rihanna was able to compile 8 albums. That's almost unheard of. Not only was she able to produce a high number of hit records in such a short amount of time, but they're all good to say the least. With her most recent release, ANTI, let's discuss how her albums rank up against each other.
8. Music of the Sun (2005)
At just 17 years old, Rihanna debuted her very first single "Pon de Replay". It was a heavily Caribbean-infused, dancehall pop hit that would dominate the nightclubs, high school dances, and the charts. Though it was a great song to introduce herself to the world with, the album as a whole was just plain. "Pon de Replay" is really the only memorable track from it. Her second not-as-good single "If It's Lovin' That You Want" is also on it, but it didn't chart so hot. Everyone wondered if Rihanna was just another one-hit wonder or cookie-cutter pop star, but she was out to prove otherwise.
7. A Girl Like Me (2006)
Just eight months after her debut album, Rihanna gave us her second album. Eight months! Not even a whole year and this girl was making some big moves. Thankfully it wasn't a sophomore slump and it gave us hits like "SOS", an R&B/Pop take on "Tainted Love", and more chilled out vibes with "We Ride". With A Girl Like Me, she was able to find a decent balance between dancehall and deep ballads (i.e. "Break It Off" and "Unfaithful"). But other than those first four songs mentioned, the album was all right. At this point, no one was really convinced just yet that Rihanna was here to stay. Man, were we all in for a treat for the years to follow.
6. Unapologetic (2012)
Ah, 2012. Electronic dance music (EDM) had finally made its peak and RiRi wanted to try it out for herself. Luckily for her, it worked and Unapologetic gave us club jams like the fist-pumping "Right Now" and the "Pony"-twisted "Jump". Not only that, but one of her biggest songs, "Diamonds", can be found on the album as well. The Sia-written track would reach Number 1 status on the Billboard charts, including Hot 100, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Rhythmic, and of course Dance Club Songs. The other unforgettable song from Unapologetic is "Stay", which is a haunting Mikky Ekko-assisted ballad that shows Rihanna at her most vulnerable, but still showcases her vocal capabilities incredibly. From the girl who released an album every year since her career began, we didn't know that this would be her last one for the next three-and-a-half years.
5. Talk That Talk (2011)
Talk That Talk beat out Unapologetic by just a hair. T3 gets the number 5 spot for "We Found Love" alone. Arguably one of Rihanna's best songs, the production from Calvin Harris was on point and it helped launch the his own career and was a standout from his own album 18 Months. He also produced and wrote "Where Have You Been", which is the other EDM club banger from T3. She went back to her dancehall/Caribbean roots with "You da One" and "Watch and Learn". Rihanna only gave us a one-minute(!?) snippet of "Birthday Cake", but it would later be followed by a full remix featuring her on-again-off-again boo, Chris Brown. Talk That Talk would act as the unofficial sequel to Rated R.
4. Anti (2016)
Rihanna's most recent LP is one of her better ones. The ANTIcipation for this album alone is what makes it so great. It was a fairly bold move to only include two features on the album. One from Drake on the lead single "Work" and one from SZA on the first song, "Consideration". However, she still collaborated behind the scenes with big names as well. DJ Mustard, The Weeknd, Timbaland, Boi-1da, Hit-Boy, Travi$ Scott, and No I.D. are all credited for ANTI. Though "FourFiveSeconds", "American Oxygen", and "Bitch Better Have My Money" were released in 2015, they each had their own unique sound and no one really knew what to expect the tone of ANTI to be based off these three singles. The fact is, those are all standalone songs that wouldn't have really fit in the album anyway, so that's most likely why they didn't make the final cut. "BBHMM" is a badass song, though.
3. Loud (2010)
Rihanna's only album to be nominated for an Album of the Year Grammy award was Loud, and it was absolutely well-deserved. The only reason why it's not higher on this list is because, unfortunately, she has no writing credits at all for any of the 11 songs. Rihanna's best songs tend to be her most personal ones that she can claim as her own. Despite only being just the vocals for Loud, it was undeniably a major standout. Almost every track became a radio single that everyone would learn the words to and she showed every aspect of her personality through them. It was fun, sexy, dark, vulnerable, and overall...loud. The red-haired RiRi was probably her most unforgettable era so far and fans alike had a positive response to her.
2. Good Girl Gone Bad (2007)
After two alright albums under her belt, Rihanna came in hot with Good Girl Gone Bad and shattered the earth with her monster smash "Umbrella". That single alone is what made Rihanna a household name and that was just a taste of what her third entry would give us. "Shut Up and Drive"? "Don't Stop the Music"? "Rehab"? "Hate That I Love You"? She gave us hit after hit after hit! She proved to the world just how consistent she can be through her music and with this album. You can listen to GGGB when you're develop a new crush, when you're pissed off, when you're in deep thought, and when you just want to have fun and chill. She went all in with this album, so I guess third time really is a charm.
1. Rated R (2009)
2009 was a very dark year for Rihanna, but it also gave us her best work. The assault she endured from then-boyfriend Chris Brown inspired her to create her most personal album to date. She lent a helping hand in writing almost every song because she clearly had a lot to say. Listening to each track easily described Rihanna's experience and you can tell that she's reaching deep down and pulling out her broken heart out for all of us to analyze. She got a rockstar haircut, wore a lot of black, and started using profanity in her music, making it not so family friendly and making it more appealing to newfound mature audiences. It was the beginning of Rihanna not giving a fuck and we can still see that side of her personality. Rated R set the bar high and we're all waiting for the day that she tops it.