“Who sent you?” Rihanna once asked a reporter, looking over her shoulder for her army of fans after she was told: “The Navy needs new music.” That was two years after the release of her eighth studio album Anti, and nearly seven years later, we’re still waiting on its follow-up. In the official trailer for Rihanna’s upcoming Super Bowl LVII halftime show, she makes it clear that she’s heard everyone making note of every single day that has passed without a new album.
“It’s been 2,190 days… Rihanna, we’ve waited for you… It’s been over six years since the nine-time Grammy winner dropped her last album… RiRi, where have you been… We’ve been impatiently waiting,” a dozen voice notes run together in the trailer like castaways trying and failing to stay sane on a remote island. The clip, titled “Rihanna is Back,” features the singer stepping into the light wearing a bright green coat with her hair braided to the sky.
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“Dot, dot, dot,” she’s heard saying in the mashup of voices, wondering where the new music is. It’s an audio clip pulled from a past interview with Entertainment Tonight where she confessed she loves antagonizing her fans about what’s coming next and when. At the end of the clip, Rihanna lifts her finger to her lips and offers a silent “Shh.” As she turns away, Anti single “Needed Me” rings out for the remainder of the brief visual.
In November, while speaking with Associated Press, Rihanna shot down the hopes that her Super Bowl headlining slot would either coincide with or precede an imminent album release. “Super Bowl is one thing,” she said. “New music is another thing. Do you hear that fans?” We heard her loud and clear at the time, but after that cryptic halftime show teaser, maybe we need to get our ears checked.
Rihanna shared two new songs last year, the ballads “Lift Me Up” and “Born Again,” both recorded for the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack. The Super Bowl 57 halftime show, however, will likely be geared towards showcasing the catalog of hits the singer has amassed over the course of her career – the type of bangers that have people recalling the exact number of days that have passed since her last album release.
“Rihanna knows that her career has expanded different sonic palettes, from EDM to pop to hardcore hip-hop to ballads,” musical director Adam Blackstone, who is crafting the show with Rihanna, told Rolling Stone earlier this month. “We’re coming up with the setlist together because everybody who is a Rihanna fan has their different moments of who Rihanna is to them, and what each song means to them as well. We want to try to give a little bit to everybody.”
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