Rihanna feat. Jay-Z "Umbrella"
Published Jan 07, 2008Predictable, I know, but there was no competition for the Barbadian beauty in 2007. From the first time you heard Jay-Z come out the gates spittin, "Uh huh, uh huh, yeah! you knew this was something special. Everywhere throughout the year (and still), video and radio channels, stores both chic and not so chic, and people - be it in their cars or just walking along the streets muttering to themselves - were heard blaring "ella, ella, ella, eh, eh. It stayed atop charts in every country just about forever, gave us one of pop music's best metaphors in recent memory and perhaps best of all, even found Rihanna her own line of Totes brollies. But after following the 19-year-old's previous chart-dominators like "Pon De Replay and "S.O.S. as well as a staggering three good albums in two years, we all knew it was just a matter of time that Rihanna would become the new queen of both R&B and pop, and this was her crowning achievement. Developing a newfound sound saturated in lavished new wave modulations and guitars, and the freshest commercial hip-hop beats thanks to the Jigga boss man's supervision, Rihanna reinvented herself yet again, but this time as an artist who could rival and even replace her closest rival, Beyoncé. Not many MCs, let alone waifish sirens can trump Hova, and yet once the chorus kicks in, Sean Carters intro becomes scant and almost forgettable, kinda like a strong movie trailer before an unforgettable feature presentation. The magnitude of the song is never reduced - the slinky beats and dirty synths are everlasting - and the lyrics are both witty and seductive without resorting to any sort of oversexed undertones or even the tired overtones that plague modern R&B. Perhaps the biggest confirmation of the singles significance though is in how many covers it amassed. Check the record: Biffy Clyro, My Chemical Romance, Plain White Ts, Starsailor, McFly, Lillasyster, Dresden Dolls, Vanilla Sky, Tegan & Sara, illScarlet, Patrick Wolf, and even Mandy Moore, who most likely experienced her biggest hit with an acoustic take on it. The fact that both Mary J. Blige and Britney Spears (maybe this was the reason she had such a troubled 2008?) both passed on this smash when co-songwriter the-Dream was shopping it around makes the song all the more affable.