And the Summer Jam of '07 Award Goes to...
Coming from a guy who never really understood the whole anti-big-forehead campaign, take this with a large grain of salt.
Yeah, yeah, yeah I'm aware that Rihanna's vocal range is ridiculously shallow, but that's all "Umbrella" needed--for Rih to remain in her comfort zone. Minimalist pop music at its best. I don't need these pop crooners getting all melismatic in my ear all the time. Sometimes, less is more.
For his part, Hov does nothing to add or detract from this track. In fact, whenever "Umbrella" comes on, I usually forget that he had anything to do with it until I'm painfully reminded by that uninspired verse of his. Still, the man deserves some points on effort, if only for his ability to bob and weave on an instro that's neither hip-hop nor R&B. I wouldn't go as far as saying that he's presence was irrelevant, seeing as "Umbrella" and its gajillions of remixes helped land Rih-Rih her best first week figures. Ever.
Maybe it's the fact that she's finally embraced her weaknesses as a vocalist by redirecting her energy elsewhere to melody and warmth.
Either way, "Umb-a-rella" reigns.