Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Backup Dancers From Hell: Rihanna featuring Jay-Z - “Umbrella (Orange Version)”

Editor’s Note: I’m not sure why this is called the “Orange Version”, but it does sound considerably different than the radio single that dominated the summer a bit back in the day. I actually like it better, and with 20,000,000 YouTube hits, I’m thinking other people feel the same, so let’s go with this version…

We start off with a shot of Rihanna in one of her typically trampy outfits, this one involving leather, a hat, and lots of Rihanna’s glistening sweat. She’s reclining on a fog-filled stage somewhere, probably trying to build her strength back up after saying “ella” 246 times.

Cut to Jay-Z, also on a stage, and surrounded by a bevy of slightly-Asian beauties wearing hoodies and dark sunglasses. There’s a constant shower of sparks falling down during this segment, and I’m not sure what that’s supposed to mean. It looks kind of dangerous, but Jay-Z is down with it since it seems kind of fun as long as nobody gets electrocuted. (We get brief glimpses of Rihanna still lounging on that other stage, doing the “eh…eh” part of the song.)

Jay-Z keeps doing his rap-sing section of the song, and it’s abundantly clear that his lyrics really have nothing to do with the original words, but this is not important because it’s Jay-Z and everybody knows that you should just let him do his thang. (The slightly-Asian girls continually cast their eyes at Jay-Z like every word he raps is the most important thing that they’ve ever heard. One of the girls is so inspired that she turns around to show us that her hoodie is emblazoned with something sparkly.)

Jay-Z finishes up and runs off to collect his paycheck. Cut to Rihanna, finally standing up after her catnap, and we can see that she’s wearing another one of those outfits where she has to be really careful with her arm movements or ta-ta’s will be set free. She performs a few dance steps, which mostly involve touching her head and shoving her booty at the camera.

Then Rihanna does a nice “Flashdance Tribute” move, which cause giant ice blocks to melt and suddenly waves of water are splashing our girl. To deal with this deluge, Rihanna changes into a white outfit that clings to her body when it’s wet, because if the rivers are going to rise, you might as well look sexy for the rescue party. This goes on for a bit, with Rihanna slapping away the attacking water in ways that are sure to accentuate her heaving breasts.

Oh look, now Rihanna is a ballerina walking across the stage on her toes. (Interestingly enough, we don’t see the upper half of Rihanna doing this very difficult toe-balancing, so I’m thinking “body double”.) We do get some upper-body shots of Rihanna waving an umbrella about, but you can’t see her feet. You can see that Rihanna’s current outfit is putting a lot of pressure on her nether regions. How can this girl even breathe?

Now Rihanna is in another room, with fancy moldings on the walls and her wearing some odd fishnet stockings that indicate the girl really didn’t pay any attention in church. Somebody has given her an umbrella do dance with (imagine that, considering the name of the song) and she does so with gusto. This also goes on for a while, with Rihanna making it very clear that she loves devices that can protect her from the elements. (I hope that umbrella remembered to wear a condom.)

Sidebar question: How could anyone feel comfortable in an outfit so tight that you can actually see pubic hair through the material? Is it just me?

Wait, what’s this? Rihanna is now completely covered in silver paint and touching herself with aggressive self-appreciation. What has this got to do with anyone standing under her umbrella? Does she have mercury poisoning? Oh my, it certainly doesn’t have anything to do with wearing clothes, because Rihanna isn’t doing so during this sequence. She strikes a number of artsy poses that let the world know she has a personal trainer. (And I’m here to tell ya, if a man tried this, the video would never make it to the airwaves. Word.)

Okay, we’re back to Rihanna without any Rustoleum spray-paint, and she’s now invested in singing to us over her shoulder, so someone must have mentioned that this is hot in some way. Her vocalizing causes lots of extras to come running on stage with umbrellas, and a shower of sparks to start falling from the ceiling. (Didn’t Jay-Z just do the same thing a bit earlier? What up?)

Oh, now I see the difference. The stage is now flooded with water while these umbrella people cavort about and do synchronized movements. Well, that’s a good thing, to mix electricity with water. Nothing bad can happen when you do that, right? Clearly, these dancers must not be in a union of any kind, or they wouldn’t have to do any of this life-threatening crap.

This goes on for a while as well, probably because it costs a lot of money to flood a soundstage so you might as well make the best of it. Rihanna shows us her belly button while the extras do some water-and-sparks choreography. (The take-away from this sequence is that it’s really important to arch your back when sparks are falling on your head. And if you can synchronize your movements with other people in your posse, then things will look really cool even if you die in the process.)

The video wraps up with Rihanna twirling her umbrella while the extras dive face-first into the deadly water gushing about the stage. To make sure that we understand Rihanna is the sexiest woman on the planet, she fondles her breasts and then beckons us to come take the place of her crappy umbrella and put out her fire.

Sorry, honey. I am not wading into that water filled with electrocuted bodies. If you ever make it to dry land, give me a call…


Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

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