53. Rihanna featuring Jay-Z – ‘Umbrella’ (2007)

“When the sun shines we’ll shine together
Told you I’ll be here forever
Said I’ll always be your friend
Took an oath, I’mma stick it out ’til the end
Now that it’s raining more than ever
Know that we’ll still have each other
You can stand under my umbrella
You can stand under my umbrella”

Written by The-Dream/Tricky Stewart/Jay-Z/Kuk Harrell

Produced by Tricky Stewart/The-Dream

Taken from the album Good Girl Gone Bad

Also released on Good Girl Gone Bad: The Remixes

US #1, UK #1, AUS #1

How does one express the love I have for ‘Umbrella’? Hands down the greatest single of 2007, and the best song of Rihanna’s career (and Jay-Z’s for that matter, though that seems a little unfair), and a landmark for the last decade of pop music. So much more than the hook of “ella ella ella ay ay ay”, although that bit is amazing, ‘Umbrella’ would set the standard for all R&B that came after it. It. is. monumental.

From Jay-Z’s introductory rap to Rihanna’s ad-libs over the fade out, ‘Umbrella’ is perfection. A song more about friendship than sexy times, it is all about sticking together no matter what, using the rain as a metaphor for troubled times and Rihanna’s umbrella as her shelter over her loved one. It’s a premise everyone can relate to, which added to the hit potential, but most of all it just makes for some amazing songwriting, and if it sounds a bit plain now that’s only because everyone tried to replicate it’s success. It’s important to remember how exciting ‘Umbrella’ sounded when it was still fresh.

The production is just ridiculous too – those beats, the big epic moments just before the chorus hits us, and that’s not even taking into consideration Rihanna’s “just filing my nails” vocal performance, taking her trademark bored vocals to their logical extreme. The fact that the song not only survives her vocals but actually enhances them is just part of the genius. After all it’s success and acclaim what remains is a phenomenal pop song. Let us all take a moment to thank the heavens above for a song like ‘Umbrella’.

Music video:

One Response to “53. Rihanna featuring Jay-Z – ‘Umbrella’ (2007)”

  1. Walter Mason Says:

    Did you ever see the Singaporean film students’ version of the clip? It’s genius!

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