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Celebrating 10 Years of Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’ as a Cultural Phenomenon 

Celebrating 10 Years of Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’ as a Cultural Phenomenon

Rihanna, Umbrella

The song and its parent album, Good Girl Gone Bad, birthed the Rihanna we know today.

Ten years ago today one of 2007's biggest hits first graced radio waves, prepping every top 40 listener for a summer full of "ella, ella, ella's." Now, a decade after its release, Rihanna's "Umbrella" has proven its staying power--think about it, when's the last time the song came on and someone scoffed or rolled their eyes? It doesn't happen.

Related | After Conquering Harvard, Bad Gal Rihanna Will Be Honored by Parsons

After her first two albums garnered mild success from singles like "Pon de Replay," and "SOS," the Barbadian singer teamed up with producer Tricky Stewart, singer-songwriter Terius Nash, vocal producer Kurk Harrell and, of course, Jay-Z for "Umbrella." The track was reportedly first written for Britney Spears, but her label rejected it--big mistake. Not only was the song a deviation from the safer club-pop sounds of Rihanna's first two full-length LP's, but the singer also overhauled her appearance for its rollout, trading her bouncy brown waves for the sleek, asymmetrical black bob that defined 2007 hair trends. She definitely embodied a Good Girl Gone Bad, and has stayed "bad" in the best way ever since.

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Rihanna's "Umbrella" music video, directed by Chris Applebaum, debuted the more confident, stylized side of Rihanna, and she's taken that to the bank to become today's posterchild for all things unapologetic and independent. When the song was released on iTunes, it became the best-selling single the platform had ever seen, and that popularity translated to radio, as well. After taking its time climbing the Billboard Hot 100, the song spent a glorious total of ten weeks reigning from on high as No. 1 in the peak of summer, eventually getting covered by artists of all genres, including All Time Low and Taylor Swift.

But Rihanna's own career isn't the only thing "Umbrella" affected--Tegan and Sara, who've also covered the song, revealed that their 2013 single, "I Was A Fool," was largely inspired by Bad Gal RiRi's global chart-topper. And after the success of the career-breaking single, Rihanna's production team went on to work with powerhouses, like Beyonce and Justin Bieber. Relive the majesty of "Umbrella," below.

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Dennis Hinzmann