How do you successfully comeback after six years being gone? It's not an easy task by any means. It's even more difficult when your previous release, was a clear shift in your catalogue. ANTI, by all intents and purposes, is a landmark album in Rihanna's career. At least for me, it felt like the first time that I wasn't browsing for the best songs on the album among filler, but instead, felt like a record.
All of this is to say, the expectations for Rihanna's comeback were sky high solely based on ANTI. Pair this with constant false starts (some coming from herself) and constant rumours from insiders alleging of a double album, a reggae album, a documentary, etc. The list goes on. The hype and speculation was just at its peak.
It felt very weird that all that hype was wasted on this. I don't think anyone was gagging at Rihanna making a comeback with this single; if anything, I feel everyone was mostly underwhelmed or just... didn't care enough at this point. "Lift Me Up" is largely fine, but it just feels like an entire waste of the hype for Rihanna's comeback. Obviously, this, paired with her antics, including supporting an abuser and making him model for her clothing line, has completely killed any interest I really had left.
My biggest issue here is, the song is just... okay. It really just goes in one and ear and out the other. Absolutely nothing sticks, despite the message of the song and its context in the film. Oh yeah, that is the other bit, this song was for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's soundtrack. This also felt off for me, since, Rihanna has been billing herself as a clear entrepreneur, so of course, her comeback single is part of a soundtrack since I assume the cheque was good.
She has yet to perform this song - but I expect it to show up somehow during the Super Bowl - so I leave you with a little behind the scenes video.
There are still quite a few tracks I would have cut first, but nothing of value was lost. All the hype around the Super Bowl announcement and this is what you come back with? Then she decides to further derail the hype by telling her fans not expect a new album in time for the Super Bowl. And I don't even want to get into her decision to support Johnny Depp. Can the BPGs please stop associating themselves with abusers and predators for 2023? Thanks.