[39] Rihanna featuring Jay-Z, ‘Umbrella’

It’s a Heart song, isn’t it? All power chords and stark emotion and, er, a phoned-in rap from Jay-Z. He and the Wilson sisters were like this. They’d bring the overwrought, he’d spit the rhymes. Then he ditched Nancy for his girl B and it was all just AOR/hip hop history. Rihanna of course conveys feeling with the natural poise of an office block, but ‘Umbrella’ benefits from her robotic delivery, keeping its secrets, peeling layers off slowly.

Junior says: “Ella-ella-ey-ey-ey” rather a lot. In fact, she says it pretty much every time she’s confronted by an umbrella of any hue, musical or rainworthy. It’s entered the lexicon.

Best bit: The thumping great beat in Rihanna’s first line.

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