Rihanna is one of the most successful singers to emerge in the last couple of decades. For proof, look no further than the fact that she is believed to have a net worth of $1.7 billion, which is enough to make her the wealthiest female musician in the entire world. So far, Rihanna has released eight studio albums, though it has been confirmed that she has a ninth studio album on its way.
8. A Girl Like Me
A Girl Like Me was Rihanna’s second studio album. It was released in 2006, meaning that there was a very short period of time between it and its predecessor. As such, it is perhaps unsurprising that A Girl Like Me turned out to be much like Music of the Sun, being a mix of pop and reggae with strong influence from Rihanna’s Caribbean homeland. On the whole, the album wasn’t a disappointment. For proof, look no further than “SOS,” which was the singer’s first song to reach the number one position on Billboard’s Hot 100. However, A Girl Like Me wasn’t particularly exciting either, particularly since it was in a considerable sense, more of the same.
7. Rated R
Rated R was a darker album than its three predecessors. Context-wise, it was Rihanna’s first album after she was assaulted by Chris Brown, who was her boyfriend at the time. In any case, there are a number of other things that stand out about Rated R as well. For example, it was her first time turning towards rock. Similarly, there are those who have praised its content for being more heart-felt. Still, while “Russian Roulette” and its other singles remain memorable, Rated R isn’t quite as good as most of Rihanna’s other albums.
6. Music of the Sun
Music of the Sun was Rihanna’s first album, which came out when she was still at the age of 17. As such, it isn’t as sophisticated as her later material. However, it still receives a respectable position because of the huge role that it played in everything that came afterwards. Music-wise, the album is much as its name states, a mix of pop, reggae, R&B, dancehall, and other influences that make one think of the summer sun. Due to that, it is no wonder that “Pon De Replay” made for such a spectacular first offering. Said song didn’t make the top of the list in the United States, but there can be no doubt about the fact that it made Rihanna’s name known far and wide.
5. Good Girl Gone Bad
Good Girl Gone Bad was Rihanna’s third studio album. Often-times, it is regarded as a turning point in her career. This is because Good Girl Gone Bad stepped away from the Caribbean influence of its two predecessors in preference for something much closer to her modern sound. Similarly, one could say that Good Girl Gone Bad was also a transition for Rihanna from being an innocent young woman to someone more mature though somewhat edgy in certain respects. Regardless, the singer’s creative decisions paid off because Good Girl Gone Bad was a huge success. To name an example, consider the fact that the single “Umbrella” went number one in more than 17 countries around the world, thus making Rihanna’s status as an international superstar very clear.
Unapologetic would be Rihanna’s seventh studio album even though it came out in 2012, which should make the slower pace of her later releases clear. Content-wise, well, one could describe it as wide-ranging in nature but one could also describe it as somewhat messy. Some songs were clearly meant for mainstream appeal. In contrast, others are much more experimental in nature. As such, a lot of critics had very mixed opinions of Unapologetic. Something that extended to its first single “Diamonds.” Still, the fans were quite receptive, as seen by how that same song went on to become Rihanna’s 12th number one song in the United States.
In a certain sense, Rihanna’s fifth studio album Loud was something of a return to her roots. After all, it reversed direction from its predecessor Rated R, with the result that it became a mix of dance-pop, R&B, and dancehall. Something that hadn’t been a thing since Rihanna’s first two albums. Loud didn’t quite live up to its pre-release hype. However, that doesn’t say much when the vice president of Def Jam outright compared it to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. When everything has been said and done, Loud was filled with solid tracks from start to finish, thus enabling it to claim a position as one of Rihanna’s most iconic albums. “Only Girl (In the World)” was its first single to reach the number one position. Having said that, the fact that said single wasn’t the last from this album to do so speaks volumes about its quality.
2. Talk that Talk
Talk that Talk is Rihanna’s sixth studio album. It is another album that combines influences from multiple music genres that include but are not limited to R&B, electronic, and dance-pop. Talk that Talk isn’t perfect, but it was very well put-together, with the result that it is well worth a listen. To prove this, consider “We Found Love,” which didn’t meet with a universally positive reception from the critics but was nonetheless embraced by the consumers.
There are some musicians whose releases become weaker and weaker, chasing their past glories without ever being able to catch them in truth. In contrast, there are other musicians whose releases become more and more refined over time, with the result that their latest works are a clear improvement from what came before without ditching the past altogether in the process. Rihanna is a good example of the latter because one can make a very good case that her eight studio album Anti is her best release so far. “Work” was a very solid single. Unusually, just about every other song on the album is also worthwhile. Something that isn’t as common as most people would like to be.