A glance over the catalog of some of the best pop songs of the new millennium could also effectively function as a list of the best Rihanna songs. With eight albums and 14 indelible chart-topping hits, Bad Girl RiRi has become a cultural cornerstone, a bona fide icon who has soundtracked the better part of a generation. And all that since Rihanna's first hit song "Pon De Replay," in 2005.

We all love RiRi and her fabulous style. But, if you are wondering when was the last time Rihanna released new music, you're not alone. It's been years. But hey, who are we to judge? Not only is Rihanna considered one of the greatest pop musicians globally, but also a major success in the business world. On top of juggling her Fenty Beauty and Savage X Fenty empire and acting as a Hollywood fashion muse (cue Rihanna and ASAP Rocky couple fits), she’s also recently become a new parent.

After Rihanna hinted at dropping new music and was confirmed to headline the Super Bowl 2023 halftime show, she's finally also blessed us with some long-awaited music since 2016 — an emotional Rihanna "Lift Me Up" for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack released in October 2022, honoring the film's late star Chadwick Boseman.

So, to taper off some of our current cravings and while we wait for Rihanna's new album, we have looked back at the artist's discography and selected what we believe are some of her best songs of all time. Whether you want to shine bright like a diamond, feel like the only girl in the world, or experience that drunk-in-love ardor, Rihanna's music has always been multifaceted, guiding listeners through tough as well as joyous moments of life.

Here are the 26 Best Rihanna Songs of all time.

26. "Lift Me Up" (2022)

Maybe we're too obsessed with Rihanna, but hey, it's been long enough since we got to shout to RhiRhi's hits on the dancefloor, asking the DJ not to stop the music. This time, however, she's back with something more emotional. Co-written by Tems, Ryan Coogler, Ludwig Göeansson, and Rihanna, "Lift Me Up" for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (out November 2022) is a touching tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman, the protagonist T'Challa in the last Black Panther film (2021).

Undoubtedly, it deserves a top spot in the best Rihanna songs catalog. Since her last album Anti in 2016, the anticipated new single "Lift Me Up" is equally powerful, melodic, moving, and sentimental. One of the producers, Tems, has said, "if I could sing to them (for close ones who have passed) now and express how much I miss them" about the writing process. Simply beautiful.

25. "Where Have You Been" (2011)

"Where have you been? All my life, all my life". In this EDM-inspired club classic, RiRi wonders where her lover's been before they met. And who knows, Maybe Rihanna and ASAP Rocky have found what she was searching for all these years.

Every pop star has that ONE song that gets everyone clapping in sync at the club, and this upbeat banger from her 2011 album Talk That Talk is Rihanna's.

24. "Man Down" (2010)

Rihanna delivering this dancehall classic, “Man Down,” will always be the perfect summer vibe. This gem from the album Loud packs a serious emotional wallop by the song's end, finishing with a gorgeous falsetto coda. We knew it before, but it bears repeating – girl's got the range.

23. "Pour It Up" (2012)

Even though Rihanna's "Pour It Up" didn't make it to top one in the charts, its accompanying music video is one of the best things she has ever done, period. Flashing her dollar bills at the strip club, singing "I still got mo' money," Rihanna reminds everyone that she's a big spender and has the leverage to do whatever the fuck she wants with all of her money, honey.

23. "Unfaithful" (2005)

"And to him, I just can't be true." Though this Rihanna and Ne-Yo song collab "Unfaithful" has found as many opponents as proponents thanks to its lyrics, this Music of the Sun album track from 2005 is an exclamation of delight with provocative words. An Evanescence-inspired ballad to serve as a reminder that not only guys cheat.

21. "Needed Me" (2016)

Here is Rihanna reminding a man that the only thing he's good for is a sexual pleasure – if he can even fulfill that requirement. But do heed the warning, "Didn't they tell you that I was a savage?"

20. "Same Old Mistakes" (2016)

Of the many surprises that awaited us when Rihanna first dropped ANTI, the biggest was surely this extremely casual Tame Impala cover. Indie fans were aghast that she was audacious enough to lift the track with singer Kevin Parker's backing vocals still intact. Still, they failed to grasp what was obvious from the get-go: this is how the song should have sounded all along.

19. “Loveeeeeee Song” ft. Future (2012)

Ok, it's no chart-topper, but then again, that's not the reason we're here. When it comes to a classic love song, Rihanna's got it covered. Released in collaboration with rapper Future for her seventh studio album Unconditional, this touching ballad duet is a vibe of another world, with a laid-back melody about unconditional love. Much love for these love song lyrics, Rihanna!

18. "Hate That I Love You" ft. Ne-Yo (2007)

A dancehall hit in its first appearance, but RiRi is trying to tell us more. Rihanna and Ne-Yo's first collaboration from Good Girl Gone Bad differs like a night and day from fast-paced pop hits "Umbrella" and "Please Don't Stop the Music" from the same album, capturing the emotion of conflicted love. We've all been there.

17. "Higher" (2016)

Ask any man about how ANTI impacted their life, and I guarantee they'll get choked up talking about this track. The way that Rihanna's voice cracks in the chorus could kill a man on the spot. If your ex isn't drunk dialing you and profusely apologizing with this much passion in their voice, hang up and put them on the block.

16. "Love the Way You Lie (Part II)" ft. Eminem (2010)

None of us stand for abusive relationships, and we're with you, RiRi. Whereas Eminem and Rihanna's song "Love the Way You Lie" originally featured Eminem as the lead vocalist, the second version was rerecorded to have a female - Rihanna's - perspective.

The song offers an emotional reflection of her tumultuous and abusive relationship with Chris Brown. The most provocative statement she's made to date speaking up and openly sharing her first-hand experience of the trauma. It has left a mark and helped generations to come.

15. "Disturbia" (2008)

At first, nostalgic "Disturbia" seems like another of Rihanna's dance-pop songs, with an energetic beat from the album Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded. However, on a closer look into the song lyrics, there are hints of anxiety and confusion.

RiRi delivers the drama, taking a dark new direction that didn't even need a spooky music video to drive that point home. Claustrophobic, anxious lyrics are paired with a relentlessly floor-stomping beat; paranoia has rarely sounded more enticing.

14. “Stay” ft. Mikky Ekko (2012)

Yes, we know she's a savage and a beast. But Rihanna completely turned the tables with her unapologetic track "Stay" from her 2012 album, Unapologetic, and obliterated our feels with this quietly devastating ballad. This song is a testament to the power that comes in vulnerability. Ri has never let us to this extent, either before or since.

13. "SOS" (2006)

"SOS, please, someone help me," sings Rihanna in this danceable new wave classic built around the 80s hit "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell. Certainly a great tune for hitting the dancefloor, and unfortunately, equally as perfect for the day after. In reality, this song from the album A Girl Like Me is simply about falling in love.

Rihanna's "SOS" actually surpassed her first hit song, "Pon de Replay," in the Hot 100. Hence, it's no surprise it has the ability to wholly jam your brain's pleasure center; the quality pop stars can spend a lifetime chasing. RiRi got it down pat barely two albums in.

12. "Diamonds" (2012)

It is safe to say "Diamonds" is truly one of the best Rihanna songs, also her twelfth song to reach number one on the charts. This unsurprising yet extremely catchy pop song was written by Sia for RiRi's seventh studio album, Unapologetic. Let's just say that girl knows her worth. If you're lucky enough to be chosen by her as a lover, she'll make you feel valuable too.

11. "What's My Name?" ft. Drake (2010)

This Drake and Rihanna song collab was written for Rhi's fifth studio album, Loud. When Drake and Rihanna made duets together, the world was a better place. RIP to wholesome memories from 2010 before we all found out that the friend zone is a toxic trap that has no place in our lives. This track also marks the moment when Drake invented math with his fun fact about the square root of 69… nice. While Drake and Rihanna were an instant hit, we’re now (patiently) waiting for those Rihanna and ASAP Rocky songs.

10. "Don't Stop the Music" (2007)

Another pounding club classic about keeping the party going is hardly breaking new ground in pop Music, but Rihanna's "Don't Stop the Music" managed to wring new pleasures out of the age-old adage from the sheer quality of her melody (that and an ingenious interpolation of Thriller-era MJ). There is no way that you aren't still getting turnt to this song.

9. "Love On the Brain" (2016)

Rihanna’s eighth and most recent studio album ANTI featured distorted vocals and synth-rock elements, a U-turn from classic Rihanna songs, synth-pop dance hits from the previous albums. With this soul ballad, RiRi finally shows her emotional side and takes no prisoners in expressing her pain through powerful lyrics.

8. "Pon de Replay" (2005)

Rihanna's "Pon de Replay" is the one that started it all. If you're still wondering what it means - it's "play it again" in the Bajan dialect of Barbados. And that, clubs certainly did. Her arrival on the pop music scene was heralded by the massive, massive beat of a globular, fast-paced thumper that's impossible to ignore in any setting. Ri strides it with skill, acting as a holy vessel for all our dancefloor dreams.

7. "Only Girl (In the World)" (2010)

Moving away from the darker tunes on her previous album, Rated R era, Rihanna’s "Only Girl In the World" features more lively and fast-paced beats, which took her into the whole new level in the dance-pop space.

Her fifth album, Loud, was the phase where Rihanna gave us catchy Top 40 club bangers that were often overplayed but never under-appreciated. All she's trying to say here is that she is to be prioritized. Is that really too much to ask of a partner?

6. "S&M" (2010)

Shoutouts to Rihanna for raising awareness about BDSM and using her platform to break the stigma surrounding it! The music video was even banned in several countries because the presence of a nude Rihanna was too risqué for some cultures to handle, so she was really pushing outside of everyone's comfort zones during this era of her career.

In a 2010 interview, RiRi told Spin that the lyrics weren't intended to be taken "too literally," but the chorus couldn't be more direct: "'Cause I may be bad, but I'm perfectly good at it/ Sex in the air, I don't care, I love the smell of it/ Sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me." Say it loud and proud, girl.

5. "Bitch Better Have My Money" (2015)

There's a saying about how the best revenge is your paper, and Rihanna applied that advice in her "Bitch Better Have My Money" as she went in on an accountant that caused her to drop from $11 million to $2 million and file for bankruptcy in 2009, along with an accounting firm that she sued for mismanaging her finances in 2012. Merely ten years later, RiRi joined the billionaires club, with her net worth estimated at an astonishing $1.7 billion as of 2021. Look at me now, accountants.

4. "We Found Love" ft. Calvin Harris (2011)

I'm pretty sure this song made Calvin Harris' career take off, but please correct me if I'm wrong. You couldn't go anywhere in public without hearing it on blast, whether the setting was a suburban mall or a grimey club. The accompanying visual is also peak Tumblr during its glory days. Anyway, this is a timeless bop with a message that will resonate all eternity.

3. "Work" ft. Drake (2016)

No doubt, one of the best songs from Rihanna. There are catchy pop songs, and there's "Work" – a track that has notched over a billion views and streams in the span of a few years. As triggering as it may be for some listeners to revisit, "Work" represents the platonic ideal of a Ri song: a flirty, summertime dance bop that wears its Caribbean and dancehall influences on its sleeve.

Another one of Drake and Rihanna songs, where he somehow manages to top his previous efforts at cringeworthy one-liners (refusing to choose your identical twin over you is 6 God romance at its finest).

2. "Rude Boy" (2009)

It takes a special kind of swagger to successfully pull off rhyming "want want want" with "want want want," but that's essentially Rihanna in a nutshell. In a career full of iconic beats, the seductive sprawl of "Rude Boy" has yet to be matched, offering a captivating canvas for Rihanna to let said swagger blossom into the epitome of carnal desire.

Is there another song in pop music history that so coyly tackles the subject matter of making sure your partner's package is both big and hard enough? Nowhere else on her discography does the moniker Bad Girl RiRi feel as fitting or justified.

1. "Umbrella" ft. JAY-Z (2007)

At the top of our list of best Rihanna songs is "Umbrella," which is not only our favorite but also a track that propelled her into the true limelight. There's little left unsaid about this song, so enshrined in our consciousness that it's difficult to imagine a time when it didn't exist. Over fifteen years after its release (!), this song ft. Jay-Z still sounds remarkably fresh. Its percussive beat is a timeless foundation for Rihanna's huge melodic hooks. Not since the Weather Girls has rain been such a totemic force of intimacy.

Next up; here's 25 of the best Drake, Beyonce, and Eminem songs of all time.

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