Rihanna & Jay-Z
Album: Good Girl Gone Bad
Rihanna helps her boyfriend through a tough time in the sweet “Umbrella.”
Bouncing drums open the single, setting a festive tone. Jay-Z starts the single. He says right now his life is great. However, he’s preparing for the day when it falls apart. (“No clouds in my stones/Let it rain, I hydroplane in the bank/Coming down with the Dow Jones/When the clouds come we gone, we Roc-A-Fella/She fly higher than weather/And G5's are better, you know me/In anticipation for precipitation/Stacked chips for the rainy day/Jay, Rain Man is back/With little Ms. Sunshine/Rihanna where you at?”)
She says she cares for him and no matter the distance, it won’t stop her from feeling connected to him. He is more important to her than her career. It may allow her to afford expensive things but in the end, the cars don’t provide comfort like he can. She’ll turn to him whenever she’s having problems. (“You have my heart/And we'll never be worlds apart/May be in magazines/But you'll still be my star/Baby cause in the dark/You can't see shiny cars/And that's when you need me there/With you I'll always share/Because.”)
In the chorus, she says they are a team. It means sticking with him through thick and thin. He’s her best friend as well as boyfriend. He’s dealing with a lot – can’t attend college like he planned and one of his parents is sick. He can rely on her. (“When the sun shines, we'll shine together/Told you I'll be here forever/Said I'll always be a friend/Took an oath I'ma stick it out till 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 (Ella, ella, eh, eh, eh)/Under my umbrella (Ella, ella, eh, eh, eh.”)
She says whatever is going on will damage him and change his future forever. However, she will help lessen the pain. (“These fancy things will never come in between/You're part of my entity, here for Infinity/When the war has took it's part/When the world has dealt it's cards/If the hand is hard, together we'll mend your heart/Because.”)
The chorus is sung again.
In the bridge, she says his emotions won’t scare her. He can cry, shout and do what he needs to do. She won’t take it personally. (“You can run into my arms/It's okay don't be alarmed/Come into me/There's no distance in between our love/So go on and let the rain pour.I'll be all you need and more/Because.”)
The chorus is sung again.
In the final section, she says he can to turn to her. (“It's raining/Oh baby it's raining/Baby come into me/Come into me.”)
Jay-Z’s obligatory appearance is just there. He’s limited it to a cameo and manages to stay within the context of the single. Nonetheless, he could’ve been edited out and it wouldn’t have impacted the song at all.
Rihanna is at her most genuine and together. Listening to latter albums, it’s clear she’s broken and hurting. She’s into the single and having fun being an emerging pop star. It’s unfortunate the Rihanna in the single no longer exists.
The optimistic “Umbrella,” while it still holds up, has become a snapshot of what could’ve been if Chris Brown hadn’t entered her life.