Rihanna Crushes Hope for New Album, But Keeps Dream of New Music Alive

Any hope that Rihanna’s Super Bowl halftime show might be the harbinger of that long-yearned-for new album will have to be put on hold. But that doesn’t mean some new music isn’t on the horizon.

In a new interview with The Associated Press, Rihanna said she knew the announcement of her halftime performance would kickstart some fervent speculation among fans, who have been not-so-patiently waiting since 2016 for a follow-up to Anti. “The second that I announced this, I said, ‘Oh my god, they’re going to think my album is coming. I need to get to work,” Rihanna quipped. 

Luckily, getting to work (work, work, work, work) means there will be a few things to look forward to, even if it’s “not true” that her Super Bowl performance means a new album is imminent. Already, Rihanna shared her first new song in six years, “Lift Me Up,” which appears on the soundtrack for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

“Super Bowl is one thing,” Rihanna said. “New music is another thing. Do you hear that fans?”

Elsewhere in the interview, Rihanna spoke about her decision to take on the Super Bowl halftime show. The performance will not only be her first in more than five years, but it will take place less than a year after she gave birth to her first child. “If I’m going to leave my baby, I’m going to leave my baby for something special,” Rihanna said.

While the Super Bowl halftime show is arguably one of the biggest stage’s an artist can play, Rihanna previously turned down the opportunity twice, in 2018 and 2019, in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, who was essentially blacklisted from the NFL after taking a knee during the National Anthem in protest of racial injustice and police brutality. Notably, in the years since then, production on the Super Bowl halftime show has been taken over by Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, with whom Rihanna has worked since 2014. 

Of her decision to finally accept the headlining spot now, Rihanna said, “It was a challenge that I welcomed. It was a stage bigger than anything I’ve ever done.”