Rihanna Returns to Music After spending the last seven years primarily away from the stage, the singer and business entrepreneur used the halftime show to perform a dozen of her biggest hits, acknowledge her other businesses, and reveal what she expects.
Rihanna has been confirmed to be expecting her second child, her spokesman stated shortly after the singer left the stage during the Super Bowl LVII halftime show on Sunday night at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The performance had given the impression that the singer was pregnant.
It was not quite on the theatrical level of Beyoncé rubbing her belly during her performance at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, which was a pregnancy reveal. But for Rihanna, who gave birth to her first kid just a year ago.
Many of Rihanna’s ardent fans saw her readiness to perform at this year’s Super Bowl as a sign that her return to music might be around the corner. There is a possibility that she will reveal the release of a new single, album, or perhaps a tour.
Therefore, even though her actual performance on stage was a little tiring, there were other, more essential things to concentrate on.
Rihanna casually performed fragments of 12 famous songs in 13 minutes. After the first part of the set, she didn’t show much frisson, snark, authority, or vigor until a little while after the break in the middle.
Then she began singing the hook to “All of the Lights,” a song she had previously collaborated on with Ye (formerly Kanye West), who is now considered an outcast due to antisemitic comments he made around the end of last year. She promptly followed that song up with another duet with Ye, “Run This Town,” which she released (and Jay-Z).
A fast cosmetics ad? Sure. An implicit declaration of solidarity with a colleague who is in hot water? Why should we? Rihanna is one of the most important musical hitmakers of the 21st century. Still, she is less important to the Super Bowl than the Super Bowl is to her, and her performance was a lesson in how to do just the right amount for the occasion. She approached it in the same manner many people do when their personal life calls them to attend to their professional obligations: she was obedient, lightly thrilled, a little tired, and looking to work the angles ever-so-slightly in her favor.
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Rihanna, the queen of nonchalance, Rihanna Returns to Music, made her first appearance on Sunday night singing “Bitch Better Have My Money” while performing on a stage that was floating above the 50-yard line (a gesture that was borrowed from Ye’s 2016 Saint Pablo tour). She was attached to the location, which restricted her movement, but even when she reached the ground, she did not overemphasize dance. Instead, she held steady court in the center of more than one hundred dancers, participating in their movements but never surpassing them. She guided them through “Work” as if she were a teacher, pointing out the steps without performing them herself.
Rihanna has had a wide range of success in the music industry, as evidenced by her charting on the Billboard Hot 100 more than sixty times. However, this laid-back concert featuring twelve of every one’s all-time favorite songs lacked any simple unifying theme or concept. She focused primarily on the positive side of her discography, performing songs such as “Where Have You Been” and “Only Girl (in the World),” and she included references to her Caribbean roots in the songs “Work” and “Rude Boy.” After the performance’s conclusion, she emphasized her big-picture, one-word title smashes, “Umbrella” and “Diamonds,” both of which put dramatization ahead of feeling.
Rihanna is a new mother, a rich business entrepreneur in the fashion and cosmetics industries, and an astoundingly dependable pop artist with an extensive back catalog. However, she is not a hitmaker at the moment. In addition to that, she had not put on a spectacle of this magnitude since 2016.
Therefore, the Super Bowl emphasized in its marketing how significant of an achievement it was to land her most conspicuous attempt in years. Throughout the advertising teasing, Apple Music’s Ebro Darden prophetically said, “The wait. Is very close to being over.”
The main point of the occasion was for her to make an appearance. The event alone constituted the event. Despite the frequency and significance of her partnerships, there were no attendees at the event. She donned a red suit with layers that she removed and added throughout the performance, even tho being in the fashion industry. There were no costume changes.
Rihanna Returns to Music Although the performance was brief and rushed, it appeared to move quickly. There was not much of a range in the performance’s tone or energy, and there were no aesthetic allusions to the barely themed setlist. It was a routine designed to activate well-honed pleasure centers rather than spark new passion; the outcome of the competition was a foregone conclusion.
It is a tribute to how the NFL has been successful in papering over or performing over its scandals that Rihanna was even able to make an appearance at the Super Bowl. It felt political for her to turn down the opportunity to sing on one of the biggest stages in the world in 2019 when the National Football League had responded to Colin Kaepernick’s activism by canceling the Super Bowl halftime show. She chose not to perform at the Super Bowl. The participation of Jay-Roc Z’s Nation with the NFL in the following years has had the effect of remaking the halftime show in terms of both the music and the societal themes presented.
That has turned out to be for the best from the point of view of amusement. And for Rihanna, playing halftime is a significant milestone commensurate with the breadth of her accomplishments. On the other hand, her performance was neither aggressively political nor even especially appreciative of her long list of songs. Instead, it fulfilled the function of something akin to a placeholder. Yes, she would be here to perform. However, she has other more important things to attend to.