What Rihanna’s ‘Lift Me Up’ Song Lyrics Really Mean


It’s finally here. After a years of waiting, begging, and nagging, Rihanna has blessed us with new music at last. Her latest is “Lift Me Up,” the lead single from the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack—a grand comeback fit for the superstar and mogul.

The uplifting, emotional ballad is meant to be a tribute Chadwick Boseman, the late and beloved star of Black Panther whose loss has been deeply felt by fans and fellow actors, especially his former co-stars in the Wakanda Forever cast. The song was written by Rihanna, Tems, Oscar-winning composer of Black Panther Ludwig Göransson, and director Ryan Coogler. The song was recorded in five countries and produced by Göransson too. With lyrics like, “Keep me in the warmth of your love when you depart / Keep me safe / Safe and sound,” their heartfelt homage to Boseman is clear.

“After speaking with Ryan and hearing his direction for the film and the song, I wanted to write something that portrays a warm embrace from all the people that I’ve lost in my life. I tried to imagine what it would feel like if I could sing to them now and express how much I miss them,” Tems said in a statement. “Rihanna has been an inspiration to me, so hearing her convey this song is a great honor.”

Since she released her last album, the masterpiece Anti, in 2016, along with collaborations with DJ Khaled and N.E.R.D. the following year, Rihanna has been, understandably, very busy. She’s expanded her Fenty Beauty empire and Savage X Fenty lingerie business, was named an actual billionaire, and recently became a mother to a baby boy this spring. But in recent weeks, hints of her return came to the surface. First, she was announced as the 2023 Super Bowl Halftime Show headliner, prompting the question: Does this mean Rihanna is releasing new music? And then, Wakanda Forever promos online and in Times Square were lit up with the letter R, suggesting Rihanna’s musical involvement in the sequel. Sure enough, this week, those rumors were confirmed.

If the years-long wait has proven anything, it’s that Rihanna is moving on her own timeline, and no one else’s. “I’m looking at my next project completely differently from the way I had wanted to put it out before. I think this way suits me better, a lot better,” she told Vogue earlier this year. “It’s authentic, it’ll be fun for me, and it takes a lot of the pressure off.”

With its Rihanna-led single, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever follows the tradition started by its predecessor of tapping high-profile Black artists to create original music for the film. When the first installment was released in 2018, Kendrick Lamar composed and curated songs for the accompanying Black Panther: The Album, along with other artists including SZA, The Weeknd, Anderson .Paak, 2 Chainz, and Jorja Smith. (One of the songs even won a Grammy the following year.) Rihanna’s “Lift Me Up” may just be the first of more stellar original songs for the highly-anticipated sequel. As critics who saw the film noted, she has another track called “Born Again” that plays in the credits too.

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Rihanna – Lift Me Up (Visualizer)

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Listen to “Lift Me Up” here and read the full lyrics below:

Lift me up
Hold me down
Keep me close
Safe and sound

Burning in a hopeless dream
Hold me when you go to sleep
Keep me in the warmth of your love when you depart
Keep me safe
Safe and sound

Lift me up
Hold me down
Keep me close
Safe and sound

Drowning in an endless sea
Take some time and stay with me
Keep me in the strength of your arms
Keep me safe
Safe and sound

Lift me up
Hold me down
Keep me safe
Safe and sound

Burning in a hopeless dream
Hold me when you go to sleep
Keep me safe
We need light
We need love

(Lift me up) Lift me up, in your arms
(Hold me down) I need love, I need love, I need love
(Keep me close) Hold me, hold me
(Safe and sound) Hold me, hold me, hold me, hold me, hold me, hold me
(Lift me up) Hold me, hold me, hold me
(Hold me down) Hold me
(Keep me safe)
We need light
We need love

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