I have been waiting for new Rihanna since Anti in 2016. Now she is back with Lift Me Up, which is due on the upcoming Black Panther soundtrack. Black Panther soundtracks have been showcases of amazing pop / hip hop and the Wakanda Forever soundtrack is looking to keep pace with its predecessor. With Tems’ No Woman No Cry cover and Sampa the Great’s Never Forget already heavily featured in the trailer, the addition of Rihanna’s first new music in six years has already made this upcoming soundtrack a must buy.
Lift Me Up has a spiritual quality with its piano and raising vocals. The layering on the vocals gives it a choral quality, which also adds to its spiritual nature. I could go deeply into the music and instrumentation…but I am really here for Rihanna’s vocals. I mean, I didn’t wait six years to talk about the acoustic guitar. This is not the more hip hop / pop vocal style we are used to on Needed Me or Umbrella, but Lift Me Up showcases her range more than previous tracks. She can start the track with some intoxicating notes and then easily flow into some powerful verses. Her voice is extremely strong, but can become fragile when she hits her high notes. Rihanna’s vocal is what really carries the track and has all of us Ri-Ri fans excited for a potential full length record.
Lyrically, this hits all the notes of a gospel / spiritual. Rihanna uses a lot of spiritual imagery with references to water, being lifted up, held for safety and love’s warmth. Even though these references are used in romantic ballads, in this track they take on a spiritual weight. This could be something played in remembrance of Chadwick Boseman during a funeral / afterlife sequence in the movie. Just a guess, but it definitely has that vibe.
It is a gift to hear Rihanna sining so powerfully and soulfully on a new track. She has been on my end of year new records wish list for the past two or three years…and now we have new music! With this and the Super Bowl halftime show, we are primed for a big record drop in early 2023. I can’t wait!!!
Listen to Lift Me Up