It’s December, which means we’ve just been hit with a barrage of pieces listing famous people who defined 2015. Nestled somewhere between Corbyn and Cumberbatch you’ll find Rihanna, who owned this year without really trying. The singer is arguably the most talked about star of 2015, even though she’s only put out three tracks and one of them (‘Four Five Seconds’ with Macca) sounds like she’s doing drunk karaoke with my dad.
We’ve been waiting since January for Ri to drop her eighth studio album ‘Anti’. But instead of releasing a blazing LP she’s spent the year doing kinda leftfield things: becoming Creative Director of Puma, hanging out with Leonardo DiCaprio and producing the soundtrack to a kids’ film. Other stars who haven’t released studio albums or toured this year have been relegated to friendly faces we only see on Instagram (remember Beyoncé?) but BadGal has remained in the headlines without really seeming to try. Over the past 11 months the singer has discussed potentially quitting music for acting, created her own line of socks and claimed ‘black-identifying’ white activist Rachel Dolezal is actually alright. Oh, and of course her graphic video for ‘Bitch Better Have My Money’ triggered a thousand thinkpieces.
While Taylor Swift fought to stay newsworthy by ‘welcoming to the stage’ a different famous person on every day of her gruelling tour, and Miley Cyrus unveiled an actually-quite-complex surprise album, Rihanna got a Fader cover without even giving an interview. Even Justin Bieber worked harder on his image than she did, crying on stage and befriending James Corden.
Over the course of this year, Rihanna has done just enough to keep herself at the forefront of our Google-ruined attention spans and spent the rest of the time having fun. If the 2015 pop world was a high school, Taylor Swift would be the straight-A student who just wants to be loved by the teachers, and Zayn Malik would a clique chameleon, trying hard to impress the sixth-form babes and the rugby lads. And Rihanna? She’s the kid in the corner – feet on the desk, teacher telling her to take her headphones out – who’ll ace her GCSEs despite never doing her homework. I respect that.