Every Rihanna Music Video Ranked
The release of Rihanna’s latest video for “What Now” got us thinking. Bad Gal has released more than a few great music videos (and more than a few duds) and the discussion sparked a heated debate here at Celebuzz about which Rihanna music video is the best Rihanna music video. So here is the definitive ranking of Rihanna’s music videos, no room for argument.
First, the rules. We decided only to only include songs by Rihanna, not featuring Rihanna. Unfortunately that disqualified some fantastic videos like”If I Never See Your Face Again,” “Who’s That Chick” and “Run This Town,” but this is about Rihanna and no one else. Secondly, while it’s certainly important that the song be good, this is more about the music video. While we considered the quality of the song while ranking the videos, it was more about the video than the song.
So without further ado, let’s get to the rankings!
31. “Cheers (Drink to That)”
Concert footage, Rihanna? Really? You’re better than that.
30. “We Ride”
This is from early in Rihanna’s career, when record execs couldn’t quite figure out what to do with her. Was she going to be the next Mya? The next Christina Milian? The next Beyoncé? What she needed to be was herself. Fortunately, everyone quickly figured that out.
29. “If It’s Lovin’ That You Want”
Another one from early in her career, there’s nothing especially wrong with this video, it’s just fairly boring.
Can you imagine present-day Rihanna making this video (or this song for that matter)? We like our Rihanna unapologetic.
27. “Don’t Stop The Music”
This video was made after she’d already gone bad and the song was a major hit, but the concept for the music video (pretty girl in da club) is pretty unimaginative.
26. “Pon de Replay”
We’ll always have love for the song that introduced us to Rihanna, but looking back this whole thing is sort of a mess. The 2005 fashions are pretty entertaining though.
25. “Wait Your Turn”
If this is what we get once the wait is over, we’ll stay in the waiting room thanks.
24. “Hate That I Love You”
Love the song, hate the video. Rihanna and Ne-Yo barely even share any screen time!
23. “You da One”
Immediately after this video was released, Norwegian photographer Solve Sondsbo accused the video’s director Melina Matsoukas of stealing the concept from a fashion spread he’d done. In addition to the allegations of plagiarism, all the Clockwork Orange imagery just seems out of place within the context of the song.
22. “Pour It Up”
These pole dancers are certainly talented, but it just sort of feels like this video’s only mission is to shock.
21. “Man Down”
This is one Rihanna’s most narrative music videos, for sure. And the sexual assault plot line is genuinely upsetting.
“SOS” marked Rihanna’s transition from “that ‘Pon de Replay’ girl” into a genuine pop star.
19. “Te Amo”
Te amo is right.
Beautiful nonsense, this music video.
While her “strip clubs and dollar bills” aesthetic probably comes to mind first, Rihanna can definitely do introspective too. And well.
Another thing Rihanna does well is sexual chemistry with a male co-star. Her collaboration with Justin Timberlake is no exception. A trailer in the middle of the desert has never been so sexy.
15. “What Now”
We’re now officially in the top half. Rihanna’s latest is great, but it’s tough to compete with the 14 videos ahead of it. (Lyrics for the song are now on Directlyrics.)
14. “California King Bed”
Some of Rihanna’s greatest music videos are her most stripped down. There are no dancers, no elaborate costumes, just Rihanna and a whole lot of feelings.
13. “Rockstar 101″
Then again, sometimes the flash is good too.
12. “Where Have You Been”
Rihanna doesn’t do elaborate choreography very often, but this video for “Where Have You Been” certainly proves that she can.
11. “Shut Up and Drive”
It’s kind of hokey in a music-videos-circa-2007 way, but Rihanna and her crew of lady mechanics are bad ass.
Sure, the song is just about having sex. But the high concept music video equating the lyrics to Rihanna’s sadomasochistic relationship with the press is pretty great.
Rihanna had had plenty of hits before “Disturbia” but this music video was the first time she looked like a true pop icon, without assistance from her mentor Jay-Z. It was the moment we knew she’d be a star for a long, long time.
8. “Take a Bow”
It was our very first look at Rihanna, The Man Killer. Plus setting an ex’s things on fire is something only a true pop icon get get away with.
7. “Rude Boy”
This over-the-top, dance hall-inspired music video certainly has its haters but they are, unfortunately, wrong. This music video is fire.
What is there to even say about this video. It’s sexy Rihanna meets bad ass Rihanna and we’re all the better for it.
5. “We Found Love”
“We Found Love” is another example of high concept narrative music video. The story in this is realistic, devastating and beautiful. “We Found Love” is remarkably cinematic for a mere four minutes and 36 seconds.
Whoa, controversy. “Umbrella” is only number four?!?! Here us out; “Umbrella” is fantastic, but she’s made three better videos in the years since.
3. “Only Girl (In The World)”
2. “Russian Roulette”
This video is probably the darkest Rihanna’s ever recorded, the song is generally believed to be a reaction to her relationship with Chris Brown and the abuse that ended it. It’s twisted, disturbing and, hey, there’s the hot doctor from Grey’s Anatomy!
1. “What’s My Name?”
Ironically, the only music video better than Rihanna’s darkest one is her most romantic. Watching this video is like a B12 shot of pure joy.