Rihanna began her hitmaking streak as soon as breakout smash “Pon de Replay” was first introduced to the world in 2005. But perhaps one of RiRi’s biggest career moments came in 2007, when she and Jay Z teamed up for one of the biggest pop hooks of that decade: “Umbrella” (ella, ella, eyyy…).
Following the song’s March 29, 2007 release and subsequent whirlwind success — climbing to the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, eventually becoming the second-best performing single on the chart that year (only behind Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable”) — several artists decided to try their hand at covering Rihanna’s unstoppable tune. Whether it’s an acoustic version by Train, a rock remix by Travis Barker, or a fellow pop star like Mandy Moore lending their talents to one of Rihanna’s most iconic tracks to date, there are plenty to choose from if you’ve (somehow) worn out the original.
In honor of the 10th anniversary of “Umbrella,” we rounded up the 10 best covers of the song. In no particular order, take a look at our picks.
There is just something about Pat Monahan’s voice that makes basically any song sound like it was written by Train as soon as he begins singing. That’s pretty much what happened with “Umbrella,” but when it really turns into a Train jam is the bridge and the closing melody.
All Time Low
If you played a part in the emo/punk days of the early ’00s, the Punk Goes… series was probably all the rage for you. This Punk Goes Crunk cover was one of the many gems to come out of the greatness that was those compilation CDs, and one of the first indications that “Umbrella” is a tune that could translate across virtually any genre.
?For whatever reason, “Umbrella” seems more to be a favorite cover among male artists than female, despite one of pop’s reigning queens being the original artist. Digby opted for a more stripped down version, which served her voice well — and besides, even if you can, why even try to battle RiRi?
Considering Passenger is practically as far in the other direction as you can get from an artist like Rihanna, one wouldn’t exactly expect his take on “Umbrella” to work. Needless to say, the “Let Her Go” singer-songwriter served up a pleasant surprise with his rendition.
Alex Goot/Tyler Ward
As the only version on this list to feature a piano as a primary instrument, this one is already a standout. But then add in some acoustic guitar and the YouTube stars’ harmonies (as well as some unexpected falsetto) and you’ve got yourself a winning combination.
Okay, so this isn’t quite a cover, but the Blink-182 drummer definitely brought out the rock elements that were much more subtle in the original. And when a drumming icon joins forces with someone like RiRi (AND Jay Z), you can’t not give it some sort of recognition.
Moore was capable of whipping up some irresistible bubblegum pop jams in her hey day, so when she opted for Rihanna’s “melodic” (as Moore says) song, of course it was going to result in a version that sounds straight out of 1999 — in the best way.
These guys have literally made a living out of taking hit songs and making them their own, so obviously their strictly acoustic version of “Umbrella” is fantastic.
While this probably isn’t the first cover “Umbrella” fans are going to flock to, we had to give credit to Postmodern Jukebox (and American Idol alum Casey Abrams!) for making a pop/R&B song of the ’00s sound like something that would be performed at a jazz festival.
Plain White T’s
Although lead singer Tom Higgenson had to use a lyric sheet while covering Rihanna’s hit — for Virgin Radio Sessions, talk about a throwback — the tone of his voice worked well with an acoustic version of the tune.