Friday, October 16, 2009

9. Rihanna "Umbrella" (2007)

Rihanna is a 21-year-old Barbadian Pop Dynamo. She is responsible for three incredible pop songs this decade: "Don't Stop the Music," "SOS," and "Umbrella." It was damn-near impossible to choose just one, so consider this post an umbrella recognition of her best singles. (Har.)

"Umbrella" is the crown jewel of the songwriting/production duo Terius Nash and Christopher Stewart. Their augties output includes mega-singles like Britney Spears' insipid "Me Against the Music" and BeyoncĂ©’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).” Britney's management inexplicably rejected "Umbrella" (as did Mary J. Blige's), and it eventually landed on Rihanna's lap. Yada yada yada, the song became a monumental success (and even spawned a line of Isotoner umbrellas).

Ella ella, eh eh eh: an instant hook, and as simple as they get. Add a dark synthesizer, and a seductive beat, and you get a near-perfect paean to devotion. Sure, the rain metaphor is anodyne. But who cares?

Rihanna is no Beyoncé or Britney, at least not yet. But, given her impeccable ear for good material, she may yet dominate the list of the best songs of next decade. Considering her record thus far, I think it's a safe bet.

Click here for the entire list.