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A Dream Setlist for Rihanna’s Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show

todaySeptember 30, 2022 48 4

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Eduardo Gonzalez

Music Journalist

As you may know, unless you’ve been living under a rock, it was announced on Sunday by the NFL, Apple Music, Roc Nation, and Rihanna that the “Umbrella” singer will be the Halftime Show headliner for the upcoming Super Bowl, scheduled to take place on Sunday, February 12, 2023. This news came after TMZ reported that Taylor Swift was asked to headline the halftime show but declined, likely because she has not finished re-recording her first six albums, an ongoing project that she and her fans are very dedicated to seeing all the way through.

I was just happy to see that a pop diva was going to be taking the stage at Glendale, Arizona’s State Farm Stadium in February, since Katy Perry and Lady Gaga have personally been my favorite halftime shows. Even if Rihanna releases no new music between now and February, her catalog includes enough hits to make for a really iconic and enjoyable halftime show. This brings us to the question of “What songs will she perform?” Worry not! I’ve compiled the perfect eight-part dream setlist for a Rihanna Super Bowl Halftime Show:

“Don’t Stop the Music”/“SOS”

These are two of Rihanna’s earliest hits and would let the audience know that they’re about a journey through Rih’s iconic eras. I would be jumping up and down the moment I heard the phrase “please don’t stop the music” come over the speakers! Not to mention these are going to be the first songs we hear when we see her, what she’s wearing, what her dancers are wearing, what the set looks like, and so on. I don’t think there’s a better way to start the show than with these two throwbacks.

“S&M”

I don’t even know if a song like this could be performed on primetime television, but if it was played on the radio, then I don’t see why not! Rih could even have Britney Spears come out on stage and reprise her role from the remix. Seeing the two of them together would be a really unifying moment, especially with everything we know now about Britney’s conservatorship and how hard she had to fight to get out of it. Even without Britney, this song is a massive hit that we would all love to see performed. And I think we all know that the dance costumes and choreography for this song would be lots of fun. I’m thinking of lots of leather and maybe some actual chains and whips!

“Love on the Brain”

Let’s slow it down and have Rihanna take us from dancing to maybe shedding a tear or two, in a way only she can do. And *we* can’t get enough…

“Diamonds”

Sia famously wrote this hit in just 14 minutes, and it would be the perfect track for picking up the tempo and shining a light on Rihanna’s 2012 Unapologetic era.

Guest appearance from Drake: “Work”/”Take Care”

Guest appearances can make an excellent Super Bowl Halftime Show that much more enjoyable and memorable, and Drake would be a perfect guest for Rihanna’s halftime show. The two have beautiful chemistry on their shared tracks, as well as a storied history as friends and frequent collaborators. “Work” would give us the island gyal vibes we all crave from RihRih, and “Take Care” is too good (no pun intended) of a throwback hit not to include it on this list. 

“Needed Me”

This is one of Rihanna’s most loved songs among her Navy, which is what her most dedicated fans call themselves. It’s a female empowerment anthem and a song that her halftime show setlist would be incomplete without.

Guest appearance from JAY-Z and Kanye West: “Run This Town”/”Umbrella”

A guest appearance from Hov and Ye would break the internet and would make for an unforgettable segment of this already legendary halftime show. It makes perfect sense since Jay-Z’s label, Roc Nation, is already playing a part in executive producing the show. And although it may not rain very much in Glendale, I would love to see some artificial rain on stage during “Umbrella” to really drive home the lyrics. I really want to feel like it’s pourin’ rain, y’all!

Guest appearance from Calvin Harris “We Found Love”/”This Is What You Came For”

To close out this career-defining performance, I’d love to see Rihanna and Calvin Harris team up and deliver these two smash hits. “We Found Love” is a super nostalgic track for pop music lovers like myself, and “This Is What You Came For” is a timeless summer hit. These two tracks are pure joy, and that’s exactly what we need after a worldwide pandemic and during an economic recession.

Regardless of what Rih’s setlist looks like in February, I’m sure that she, Apple Music, Roc Nation, and the NFL have lots of surprises in store for us. On the day of, I probably won’t even be able to tell you what teams are playing, but you better believe my eyes are going to be glued to the screen in preparation for this highly-anticipated performance.

Written by: Jordan Young

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