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Top 10 Underrated Rihanna Songs

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Owen Maxwell
Script written by Garrett Alden These Rihanna songs should get more attention! For this list we're looking at Rihanna's most obscure tracks to pick the diamonds from the lemons. We're basing our picks on a mix of emotional performances, memorable hooks and how well each song has stood the test of time. This is only original material, so amazing covers like 'Same Ol' Mistakes' are disqualified.
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Top 10 Underrated Rihanna Songs


With her extensive back catalogue, Riri certainly won't stop the music. Welcome to MsMojo and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Underrated Rihanna Songs.

For this list we're looking at Rihanna's most obscure tracks to pick the “diamonds” from the “lemons”. We're basing our picks on a mix of emotional performances, memorable hooks and how well each song has stood the test of time. This is only original material, so even amazing covers like 'Same Ol' Mistakes' are disqualified.





#10: "Sledgehammer"

Single (2016)


'Star Trek Beyond' charted new territory for the franchise, and meant new sounds for Rihanna. Despite being a piano ballad at its core, 'Sledgehammer' features plenty of spacey, synthetic elements as well. Riri co-wrote the track with Sia, which marks their first collaboration since 2012's 'Diamonds.' The lyrics reflect on the pain of losing a lover, and how hard it can be to recover. Though it's one of Rihanna's most otherworldly songs, her emotional vocals fit the song perfectly. Rihanna even admitted to being a lifelong Trekkie, and said she would've done anything for the film music-wise .





#9: "Skin"

Loud (2010)


'Loud' served as a much darker and more explicit album for Rihanna, and one which found her dissecting her sexuality more than ever . 'Skin' deals with primal, carnal desires and imagines the kind of obsession that often comes with intimacy. The evocative lyrics illustrate every inch of the body in vivid detail in order to put listeners in Rihanna's raunchy headspace. Though RiRi delves into different territory on 'S&M,' her sensual delivery makes 'Skin' feels more personal and commanding. The sultry beat and grimy synths bring this same feeling to the music, along with a few steamy guitar licks for good measure.



#8: "Breakin' Dishes"

Good Girl Gone Bad (2007)


After her man starts leaving her at home, Rihanna gets ready for a fight. She's so furious on 'Breakin' Dishes,' that RiRi is ready to be pulled off him by the police. The track also features some of Rihanna's loudest beats to date, and even more aggressive synths. As angry as it is, the song is incredibly catchy and easy to dance to. 'Breakin' Dishes' even managed to hit number four on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart in America, despite never being released as a single . Though the lyrics may be a little dramatic, the song gives an empowering message about standing up for yourself





#7: "Wait Your Turn"

Rated R (2009)


As Rihanna started embracing a much tougher image, her music followed wholeheartedly on 'Wait Your Turn.' The track's mix of hip hop and dubstep elements mirror Rihanna's own roots, while warping them at the same time. The haunting notes of every verse reflect her edgy persona, while the swells of the chorus show her vocal power. Riri sings about trying hard again and again, before finally achieving your dreams. These lyrics also offer a more personal side of Rihanna compared to her single 'Hard.' Though Rihanna sings in the third person, it's fairly clear 'Wait Your Turn' is actually about her career.




#6: "No Love Allowed"

Unapologetic (2012)


Though she's from Barbados, few songs capture Rihanna's heritage quite like the reggae tones of 'No Love Allowed.' The swaying guitars and bass create an upbeat atmosphere that contrasts the song's grim subject matter. Despite the overpowering romance that Rihanna describes in the song, she keeps insisting that it can't go on. As the song continues it becomes clear her man is abusing her, and doesn't even love her like she loves him. Rihanna even compares her deep love to how her fans look at her. Her haunting story and bouncy rhythms keep the song fresh without ever using a beat.


#5: "Consideration” feat. SZA

Anti (2016)


When Pharrell walked into a writing camp for Rihanna's 'Anti' and asked singer SZA to show off some new music, she brought out this gem. The song's psychedelic atmosphere is amplified by its funky bass hook and distorted hip hop beat. SZA herself has even described the song as the feel of 'Dangerous Minds' mixed with the creepy yodeling from 'Insidious.' Despite its more sinister sounds, the track is ultimately about taking the reins in your career. Though SZA thought 'Consideration' was her peak, her solo album and song for 'Black Panther' proved otherwise. SZA's unusual vocal style also complements Rihanna's more sultry delivery on the song.



#4: "Man Down"

Loud (2010)


'I Shot The Sheriff' told a dark story in a memorable and catchy way, so for “Man Down” Rihanna's producer wanted to give the song a female perspective. In 'Man Down' Riri graphically describes how she murdered her man, after putting up with all his abuse. Despite this morose subject matter, Rihanna sings cheerfully along with the upbeat reggae melodies. Sirens ring out in the background however to subtly keep listeners on edge. Rihanna wanted give a voice to victims as well as subvert expectations of women's lyrics. Along with her Barbadian accent, Rihanna's disturbing story made 'Man Down' one of her most thought-provoking songs .



#3: "Cockiness (Love It)"

Talk That Talk (2011)


After 'S&M,' Rihanna continued to push the boundaries of women's sexuality in hip hop music. With 'Cockiness' she completely rules her lover, and demands they submit as her sex slave. While the lyrics are over-the-top, they empower women to control their own sexuality. Along with the clever and suggestive wordplay like 'Suck my cockiness, lick my persuasion' the song could also be interpreted as a satire of male rap artists’ work. The boisterous production matches Rihanna's blunt lyrics, and lends more authority to her commanding delivery. 'Cockiness' also chops up a ridiculously obscure sample from 2003's 'Stuck On You,' and turns it into an iconic backing track.



#2: "Higher"

Anti (2016)


With all the surprising steps Rihanna took on the sound of 'Anti,' 'Higher' proved she could also turn an interlude into something profound. With all of the song's desperate and slurred confessions of love, it's no surprise Rihanna calls it a 'drunk voicemail.' In fact Rihanna's passionate and exasperated performance came from singing it drunk at five in the morning. Despite their intoxicated undertones, the lyrics also bear an honesty that can often only come after a couple drinks. Although RiRi admits she can't think of anything romantic to say, the violins and piano cleverly compensate and say it for her.



Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:




"Kiss It Better"

Anti (2016)



"Do Ya Thang"

Talk That Talk (2011)



"Cold Case Love"

Rated R (2009)




#1: "Desperado"

Anti (2016)


For “Desperado”, producer Mick Schultz wanted to capture the feeling of Anti's artwork, so he crafted one of Rihanna's most fiery tracks. Desperado's cold atmosphere cleverly fits the detachment of its title character. Each vocal has its own memorable hook, as Rihanna wonders if she can hold onto her lover. The song also showed a brand of grungy rock n' roll cool that Rihanna rarely embodies in her music. Even gritty bands like The Kills covered 'Desperado,' thanks to its haunting energy and universal lyrics. This powerful mix helped the song go platinum in America, and would end up being Rihanna’s fifth number one song of 2017.
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