Rihanna has ventured into the film, fashion, and business worlds, solidifying herself as a 21st century icon. Although she hasn’t released an album since 2016—much to her millions of fans’ dismay—her work has taken the world by storm, with each release defining an era and marking milestones in her career. Today, let’s take a walk down memory lane and rate all of Rihanna’s standard edition album covers out of 5. With the rules laid out, we’ll get started in FourFiveSeconds.
Music of the Sun
Unfortunately, there’s not much to see with the Music of the Sun’s cover (unless chunky 2000s lettering is your thing). It just shows her face, and although it’s not a bad photo by any means, it does not display much uniqueness. 2/5.
A Girl Like Me
The font used in A Girl Like Me is much more visually appealing and professional. Once again, it’s not a bad photo, but I keep staring at that single distracting pearl on her neck. Is that dumb? Probably, but it speaks to how this cover lacks the thought her future covers possess. 3/5.
Good Girl Gone Bad
Compared to her previous albums, Rihanna’s posing is more compelling, and the black and white photo draws emphasis to her vibrant blue name. The design feels clever and thoughtful, and the darker shading reflects her artistic maturity in the album. 4/5.
The edgy hairstyle, finger jewelry, striking makeup, and black and white filter resemble a captivating sketch. The pose is intriguing but vulnerable all at once. Good Girl Gone Bad was the start, but Rated R takes the cake for a cover that hooks you in before you even press play. 4.75/5.
With Loud came one of Rihanna’s most iconic eras: the red hair era. The hair is loud. The lipstick is loud. The font on the cover is in all caps… in conclusion, RiRi did a good job with the packaging on this one. 4.5/5.
Talk That Talk
This cover isn’t exactly bad; with her hand on her head and the “R” on the cover, it resembles Rated R. However, the cow print shirt and the chunky rings have got to go. Even though these trends are coming back, this doesn’t mean they’re good! 3.5/5.
Rihanna poses simply here, but it feels impactful. The quite literally stripped down cover feels vulnerable and mature. It’s more laid back, and the words on her body are a clever description of the tracks’ content. 4.5/5.
This cover features a depiction of Rihanna as a child. The balloon represents escaping reality, and the crown over her eyes symbolizes how power can cloud someone’s values. What’s really special is that physical album copies have poetry written in Braille on them. At first, I thought Roy was seriously reaching to make an “artistic” album cover, but I do like its messages, and it looks really cool. 4.9/5 (I’m saving room for that next album, Rihanna…).
It’s pretty clear that Rihanna is interested in different endeavors. Regardless, her music is timeless. I’m glad to report a positive trend in the quality of Rihanna’s album covers as well—although Talk That Talk is an outlier—which reflects her growth as an artist. It’s been fun to see where Rihanna has taken her career both in and out of music, and I’m excited for where she’ll go next.