Many people assumed Rihanna’s Super Bowl halftime would bring news of an imminent new album, not an imminent new baby. Unfortunately for those who were holding out hope that Rihanna’s first live performance in seven years would foretell a complete return to her original career, the performance came and went without any word on a possible upcoming release. Now, though, the singer is speaking out about why her ninth studio album has taken so long, and when we can actually expect it.
Thankfully, Giles Hattersley, who recently interviewed Rihanna for the cover of British Vogue, was brave enough to ask the singer the question we’ve all been asking, and Rihanna was very candid with her answer. She explained that the pressure to live up to her last album, Anti, has been keeping her from releasing new music.
“In hindsight, it really is my most brilliant album,” she said, admitting that it took her some time to realize it. “But it always felt like the most cohesive album I’ve ever made. When you break it down and you realize this album goes from ‘Work’ to ‘Kiss It Better’ to ‘Needed Me’ to ‘Love on the Brain’ to ‘Sex with Me’ to ‘Desperado.’ And somehow it all fits and not for a second did you glitch?”
Ever since, Rihanna felt if a new album is “not better than that then it is not even worth it.” Of course, she knows that isn’t a productive way of thinking. “It is toxic,” she said. “It’s not the right way to look at music because music is an outlet and a space to create, and you can create whatever. It doesn’t have to even be on any scale. It just has to be something that feels good. It could just be a song that I like. It literally could be that simple.” Luckily, she isn’t willing to stop releasing music, so she knows she has to get past the fear. “If I keep waiting until this feels right and perfect and better, maybe it’s going to keep taking forever and maybe it’ll never come out and no, I’m not down to that. So I want to play.”
Rihanna admitted she has “ideas,” but she’s not ready to talk about them. She’s been recording for years, but she was quickly turned off by much of what she was previously working on. “[It’s] almost like trying to dress like you used to dress,” she said. “It’s like, ‘Ew, no. I would never wear those again.’ Your taste changes, your vibe changes.”
That being said, she isn’t ready to wait much longer, and she does have a timeline in mind. “I want it to be this year,” she said. “Like, honestly, it’d be ridiculous if it’s not this year.” Well, we agree. And now that she has said those words, you know fans have started the countdown, and if the ball drops on 2024 with no new Rihanna, there will likely be hell to pay.