tremble clef

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Rihanna featuring Jay-Z, "Umbrella" (2007)

The gushing about "S.O.S." completely flummoxed me, but there's much I love about the new Rihanna single. Such as:

1. the big drums, and especially the steam-engine "boom-ssst" on every downbeat;

2. the uplift going into each chorus, which is achieved the first time round by having the new wavy synth line enter, and the second time by having the guitar trash out some power chords right before the chorus;

3. the way it's a song about a friendship, instead of a romance, which is pretty unusual in the R&B/hip-hop context. In fact, it's quite touching the way the girls stick together, and should one of them get hurt by the cards the world deals, "together we'll mend your heart." Of course, it's entirely possible that "umbrella" is just some sort of street slang for vagina. Actually, that would be awesome, and I'm going to start using the word that way;

4. the hilariously catchy "umbrella, ella, ella, eh, eh, eh..." echo, which almost makes me think that the platonic friend being sung to is named Ella;

5. the fact that the production, by Chris "Tricky" Stewart, almost seems resigned to Rihanna's characteristic inability to hold a note, instead allowing her to spaz out and hit a bunch of different ones with every "eh" (here's a rough transcript of the way she sings that part: "eh EH eH ehhh EHHH!?! EhhHH!!!");

6. and even Jay-Z's rap is okay. It's become a kneejerk reaction in some pop circles to enjoy singles by R&B starlets but lament the guest raps. Sometimes the reaction, though usually not thought through, is justified; male rappers have a tendency to turn every song into an extended double entendre, sometimes by totally missing the point of the song. Jay-Z could have done just that (at least on this "clean version" of the single I have), but his rap is really just a kind of intro -- and, judging from the namecheck of Rihanna's album title (Good Girl Gone Bad), not just to the song but to the forthcoming record.

7. As I said, male guest rappers have a tendency to turn every song into an extended double entendre. Unlike me. Have I told you baby you're fiiiiine? Come stand under my rain-slicked, twirling flower of an umbrella, aw yeeeeah.


  • How long do the yousendit links last? They always seem to have expired when I pop by your site.

    By Blogger harvey molloy, at 5:01 AM  

  • They only last a week, I'm afraid.

    By Blogger Brittle, at 12:16 PM  

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