Song of the Day #107: ‘Umbrella’ – Rihanna

rihannaI have read and heard more about today’s song, Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella,’ than I have about any other modern song I can think of. When it was released a year or so ago, it was constantly mentioned in the magazines and Web sites I read. It’s been remixed a dozen times and covered by a host of professional and amateur artists. It is the most copiously analyzed and appreciated song of the past several years.

And I had never heard it all the way through until today.

Maybe I’d heard parts of it, like over the grocery store PA or something, but nothing I remember. And it’s weird, because I’m usually much more aware of these things.

So yesterday, my 6-year-old daughter Sophia was sitting in the living room and she says “I can’t get that song out of my head… umbrella ella ella” and that was the final straw. I decided I’d have to make this a Song of the Day and finally jump on the bandwagon.

My first thought is that I almost missed the song yet again because I was distracted by the video. Rihanna is a ridiculously handsome woman, and her legs just start and never end. Ella ella indeed.

My second thought is exasperation with this trend of song credits that include ‘Featuring So-and-So.’ Why is this song billed as ‘Rihanna Feat. Jay-Z’ when all Jay-Z does is bark out a few lines over the first ten seconds or so? That could have been anybody at all and it has no impact on the song whatsoever. It’s all just marketing and ego.

My third thought is that yes, this is a really good song. Is it the “Best Song of 2007,” as it was voted by Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone and Blender, among others? I don’t think so personally. But I can see why it became a sensation.

And damn it, it’s been in my head all day.

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #107: ‘Umbrella’ – Rihanna

  1. Amy says:

    “Oh, I love this song,” says Maddie as she plops down next to me, while I begin to type this. Now, she is joining Rihanna (singing every word, precisely on the beat).
    Ah, to be young 🙂

    I first heard of this song before I heard it. We were putting together our third issue of the school newspaper, and one of our articles was about the non-stop rain and the way it was flooding parts of the school. The kids were brainstrorming headlines for their stories, and Katrina, who wrote the story about the inclement weather, said, “I know. The headline should be “You Can Stand Under My Umbrella (ella, ella).” This bewildering suggestion was met with wide approval from her classmates, so I realized I was once again out of the loop and let them have their headline.

    Just as when you learn a new word, you can’t stop noticing it used in conversations and articles, so, too, when you discover a new song, you suddenly realize it’s likely been around you all the time. After the headline discussion, I couldn’t turn on Radio Disney (the only station we play when we’re not listening to our cd’s or iPod) without having “ella, ella, ella…” echoing all around me.

    I like the song well enough, but I like the way I discovered it even more 🙂

    http://www.myhighschooljournalism.org/fl/miami/mcds/article.cfm?eid=9991&aid=151333

  2. Dana says:

    Oh, that I were that umbrella in the video! Just kidding of course:)

    The chorus of this song is so hopelessly hooky that I have equal parts admiration and disdain for it. The rest of the song works better for me, but I must confess that I probably would lean more on the side of dislike of the song had it not been for the fact that our children love it so much, and sing it so cutely whenever we hear it in the car.

  3. Kerrie says:

    Not sure how I missed this weekend entry… It’s a bit of a departure for your song of the day but an interesting one.

    Question – when did the word umbrella pick up a 4th syllable (let alone a 6th or an 8th if you add the extra “ella’s”)???? Funny.

    Anyway, I can understand why this was such a popular song. This was the first time I had listened to it from start to finish and I have to admit my surprise at finding it to be a sweet little song, actually. Nice message, very catchy, and, now, sure to be stuck in MY head for the rest of the afternoon. 🙂

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