Rihanna, ‘Umbrella’ vs. P!nk, Christina Aguilera, Mya & Lil’ Kim, ‘Lady Marmalade’ — Greatest Pop Video of the Modern Era [First Round]
Last year, we ran a super-sized competition to determine the greatest pop song in modern history, from the ’80s to today. Now, we’re back — and this time, it’s all about honoring the best and boldest in music videos.
Our Greatest Pop Video of the Modern Era poll charges on, heading into the '00s! In Round 1, we're asking you to choose between two amazing (and coincidentally lingerie-heavy) videos. If you're torn between your love for all of the pop queens represented here, revisit each video below...and if your choice couldn't be clearer, scroll down to the bottom and cast your vote!
Rihanna already had two major hits before the "Umbrella" video's 2007 debut — "Pon De Replay" and "SOS" from her first two albums, respectively — but "Umbrella" arguably marked the arrival of ~RIHANNA~ as we think of her today. Earlier videos cast Rihanna as a sun-kissed Barbadian party girl, which she is, but we hadn't yet seen her layers. We hadn't yet met, to quote the song's album title, the "good girl gone bad," the one whose darker side is as captivating as her voice and face.
"Umbrella" was originally written with Britney Spears in mind, and while she would've brought her trademark Spear-it to the track, it now feels destined for RiRi. The Chris Applebaum-directed video matched the track's hi-hat heavy bombast and revealed for the first (but obviously not the last time) Rihanna's flawless form, covered in silver bodypaint. As Rihanna danced with an umbrella she cast a spell — one so powerful that it was years before we could pop one open in the rain without hearing "ella, ella, ay ay ay" in our heads.
Let's rewind even further, back to 2001, when a certain soundtrack collaboration merged an eclectic blend of female pop stars to enormous effect. "Lady Marmalade," a ribald update on a 1975 Labelle hit, was (and remains) a gift to the world by way of Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge movie. The Missy Elliott-produced single is still the longest-reigning Billboard Top 40 No.1 for an all-female collaboration, and the video, like the song, gives every talent on the track their due.
Lil Kim stuns. Christina Aguilera enthralls. Mya dazzles. Pink mesmerizes. Cast in hyper-saturated colors and a truckload of insane makeup and wigs, it's basically the best French cabaret ever, no?
And so, it's time to choose: "Umbrella" or "Lady Marmalade"? The poll ends on November 25 at 5 PM ET, so get your votes in while you can!
Be sure to vote in these other Pop Video Battles:
Britney Spears, “…Baby One More Time” vs. Backstreet Boys, “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”
Fiona Apple, “Criminal” vs. TLC, “Waterfalls”
Madonna, “Vogue” vs. Spice Girls, “Wannabe”
Michael & Janet Jackson, “Scream” vs. Missy Elliott, “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)”