The 15 Best Rihanna Videos

With her eighth album ANTi due any day now, as well as announcing a massive show at Wembley Stadium, we asked you to pick your favourite Rihanna videos. Here’s what you thought: [Spoiler: it’s not good news for fans of We Ride].

Words: Matt Hooper, Subeditor: Alice Marshall

(image: Westbury Road Entertainment/RocNation)

15. Umbrella (feat. Jay-Z)

What happens?: Rihanna covers herself in silver paint, dances in the rain and turns ballerina in the video for ‘Umbrella’, which is still her longest running Number 1. It was also the first time she debuted her (now iconic) black bob.

What we think: ‘Umbrella’ is still one of her most ‘iconic’ music videos (mainly because of the hair), but it clearly lacks the budget of her later videos so looks a little dated.

What the critics said: “I admit I caught the video on VH1 while in a hotel eight time zones away, jetlagged and homesick, and almost burst into tears,” – Dorian Lynskey (The Guardian).

What you think:

14. Man Down

What happens?: Rihanna goes on a night out, decides not to go home with a guy, and then gets raped by him on her way home. She shoots him dead the next day.

What we think: Her best videos all have a plot, and Man Down is right up there at the top. Despite this, Rihanna is at her most natural and effortless in this video.

What the critics said: “Visually stunning” – Becky Bain (Idolator)

What you think: 

13. California King Bed

What happens?: A lot of writhing around on a bed. She then goes for a wander around her house. That’s literally it but her hair is on point.

What we think: It’s probably the most boring Rihanna video but at least it’s pretty.

What the critics said: “Instead of being in complete control, here she is—vulnerable, open, and unsure,” – Brad Wete (Entertainment Weekly).

What you think: 

12. Shut Up And Drive

What happens?: Funding life as a popstar isn’t always easy, so Rihanna has had to get a part-time job in a garage. She fixes some cars, starts a drag race and does a gig at the end (just because she can).

What we think: A criminally under-rated video, ‘Shut Up And Drive’ is a fun video that matches how fun the song is.

What the critics said: “It’s a powerful record that sounds great” – Newsround.

What you think: 

11. Rehab

What happens?: Rihanna and Justin Timberlake share a moment in the desert. Literally nothing happens in this video, but there are some neon lights (which are a 10/10 pop prop).

What we think: It’s boring.

What the critics said: “The video for ‘Rehab’ finds a scantily-clad Rihanna doing what looks like Pilates against a flashy convertible in the desert,” – David Balls (Digital Spy).

What you think: 

10. Wait Your Turn

What happens?: Rihanna literally ‘takes it to church’ with the ‘Wait Your Turn’ video; she’s literally in a church. Lots of posturing and not much else.

What we think: It’s quite dull to watch but it was an exciting re-introduction to Rihanna.

What the critics said: “There’s no plot to speak of, just Rihanna singing to the chorus,” – Rolling Stone.

What you think: 

09. What’s My Name (feat. Drake)

What happens?: Drake and Rihanna chill in their flat before she goes for a wander around New York. She ends up at a party in a park, which is frankly not as good as the Party In The Park.

What we think: What’s My Name is arguably her best song, so it’s a shame the video is quite low key. It does capture the relationship between Drake and Rihanna well though.

What the critics said: The clip features some truly gorgeous New York cinematography and guest rapper/rumored Rihanna ex-thing Drake showing off those “Degrassi“-honed acting chops,” – Tom Breiham (Pitchfork).

What you think: 

08. Where Have You Been

What happens?: Like a Bajan Brendan-from-Coach Trip, Rihanna takes viewers on a tour of the world in Where Have You Been.

What we think: Everything about this video is on point. The styling is great, the cinematography is amazing and it contains her best dance routine to date.

What the critics said: “Watch Rihanna do the funky chicken but with her legs, as various lady-warrior types perform suggestive backbends on zebra-print carpets” – Amanda Dobbins (Vulture).

What you think: 

07. S&M

What happens?: Exactly what it says in the title: lots of bondage. She also demonstrates how to eat a banana, which is kind of her.

What we think: S&M is Rihanna at her cheekiest. Despite how controversial it was, the video is fun and is probably her most straight up pop video.

What the critics said: “[S&M] is every inch as red-hot, kinky and totally tongue-in-check as we expected to be,” – Nicola McCafferty (OK).

What you think: 

06. Russian Roulette

What happens?: Russian Roulette is her darkest video to date, with her getting questioned by police and having a writhe in a police cell.

What we think: Coming after the incident with Chris Brown, the introspective video for Russian Roulette was, and still is, one of the biggest moments in Rihanna’s career.

What the critics said: Russian Roulette portrays some seemingly real emotion as the songstress bounces back-and-forth between writhing around a padded cell,” – Megan Masters (E!).

What you think: 

05. Only Girl (In The World)

What happens?: In our dream world, the entire Earth would be pastel pink. In Only Girl (In The World), the whole world is pastel pink. Rihanna just gets it, y’know? Also, how much fun does that swing look?

What we think: The most beautiful Rihanna video. More videos generally should include a wall of roses.

What the critics said: “Beautifully shot,” – The Daily Mail.

What you think:

04. Rude Boy

What happens?: Rihanna takes it back to Barbados with a carnival inspired video. She’s riding a lion at one point too, which is goals.

What we think: Rihanna is good at almost everything (she’s not great at releasing eighth albums), but she’s very much at home on Bajan bops. Rude Boy is no exception, which shows a playful Rihanna.

What the critics said: “Rihanna writhes around in a kaleidoscope of prints and colors, embracing her roots in Caribbean dance-hall-inspired costumes,” – Jocelyn Vena (MTV)

What you think: 

03. Disturbia

What happens?: It’s Halloween all year for Rihanna, who does her best to terrify in Disturbia. Tarantulas? Check. Electric blue contacts? Check. Spaghetti junction from Gladiators? Check.

What we think: Every look in this video is Halloween goals, tbh. Is this the first time Rihanna truly ~killed a video? Yes.

What the critics said: “It’s cool to see Rihanna trying something new,” – Simon Vozick-Levinson (Entertainment Weekly).

What you think: 

02. We Found Love (feat. Calvin Harris)

What happens?: A relationship gets destructive in a dingy flat. The video is infamous because Rihanna got thrown out a farm for being topless.

What we think: This video is incredibly well shot, and paved the way for less-stylised, more acting-based videos (see also: ‘Trouble’ by Leona Lewis, ‘Tonight I’m Getting Over You’ by Carly Rae Jepsen).

What the critics said: “It’s a very British affair, all crushed lager cans, Hilda-from-Corrie hair hankies and general LOLs at being pushed around in a shopping trolley,” – Michael Cragg (The Guardian).

What you think: 

01. Bitch Better Have My Money

What happens?: Rihanna kidnaps [rescues] a woman from her idiot of a partner. She then goes on to kill him.

What we think: Bitch Better Have My Money is a masterpiece. It may be completely polarising, but it’s by far her most ambitious video, and it pushes music videos further than they have been pushed for years. Truly exquisite.

What the critics said: “I feel like this video is the gateway to desensitizing us to a completely new depiction of women who are powerful and violent but aren’t like, Uma Thurman in Kill Bill,” – Rachel Libeskind (The Fader).

What you think: 

Rihanna’s show at Wembley Stadium is on sale now.

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