Best Rihanna songs, ranked: Her top 21 songs as we (im)patiently await new music from RiRi

Rihanna is an industry unto herself. The Barbadian singer broke out in the mid-2000s as a teenager, and has since racked up more than a dozen number-one hits on the Billboard Hot 100, in addition to her Fenty cosmetics and fashion brand that made her a billionaire. But it has been five years since she released her last album, “Anti” (2016). We’ve been waiting for a new collection ever since, but while we wait, let’s count down the best songs of her career as a lead artist. As one of the most prolific featured artists of the 21st century, we can fill a whole second list with just those collabs. What do you think of our list and our choice for her number-one?

21. “Needed Me” (2016)

20. “FourFiveSeconds” with Kanye West and Paul McCartney (2015)

19. “What’s My Name?” feat. Drake (2010)

18. “Pon De Replay” (2005)

19. “Hate That I Love You” feat. Ne-Yo (2007)

16. “Bitch Better Have My Money” (2015)

15. “Shut Up and Drive” (2007)

14. “SOS” (2006)

13. “Where Have You Been?” (2012)

12. “Rude Boy” (2010)

11. “Love on the Brain” (2016)

10. “Only Girl (In the World)” (2010)

9. “Take a Bow” (2008)

8. “Disturbia” (2008)

7. “S&M” (2011)

6. “Diamonds” (2012)

5. “Stay” feat. Mikky Ekko (2013)

4. “Don’t Stop the Music” (2007)

3. “Work” feat. Drake (2016)

2. “Umbrella” feat. Jay-Z (2007)

1. “We Found Love” feat. Calvin Harris (2011)

Rihanna released her first album, “Music of the Sun,” back in 2005 when she was only 17. Her debut single from that album, “Pon De Replay,” went triple-platinum and reached number-two on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Then she hit number-one with “SOS” from her 2006 followup album “A Girl Like Me.” But it wasn’t until her third album in as many years that she became a superstar.

“Good Girl Gone Bad” was released in 2007, and it was led off by “Umbrella,” her collaboration with Jay-Z that not only topped the charts but won her her first Grammy: Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. It was also nominated for Record of the Year and began a decade-long love affair between her and the recording academy.

For almost a decade Rihanna averaged a new studio album almost every year. She dropped seven in just her first eight years: after “Music of the Sun” (2005), “A Girl Like Me” (2006), and “Good Girl Gone Bad” (2007) came “Rated R” (2009), “Loud” (2010), “Talk That Talk” (2011), and “Unapologetic” (2012). All of those went platinum, and all but her first went multi-platinum, which is impressive given how short each era was. She even earned an Album of the Year Grammy nom for “Loud.”

But after “Unapologetic” she made fans wait four years for “Anti” (2016). She received eight Grammy noms that year, including Record of the Year for “Work” featuring Drake, but she ended up shut out at those awards. Even without an album in contention the next year, though, she won Best Rap/Sung Performance for “Loyalty” with Kendrick Lamar — her ninth trophy. So you can never underestimate RiRi. And I have a feeling her fans will turn out no matter how long they have to wait for new music.

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