Piano versions of three popular songs have been combined to make Facebook’s first UK TV advert. The accent on friends, friends and more friends has put Rihanna, The Cure and Madonna high on the best-of-friends ladder as digital piano versions of their respective songs ‘Umbrella’, ‘Close To Me’ and ‘Like A Prayer’ get a promo airing. ‘The Friends’ campaign is a little sickly-sweet for my taste but the digital piano versions are of musical interest as they form a relationship of their own and three become one.
‘Umbrella’ is a 2007 pop and R&B song sung by Rihanna. It is the youngest of the three originals with cleverly executed lyrics that use the analogy of an umbrella to protect others from life’s storms. The fragmentation of ‘Umbrella’ into the resounding ‘’ella’’ as a chorus hook was a clever piece of musical engineering appreciated by many and Rihanna’s lifeless vocals lifted further by a digital piano theatrical synth strings voice:
F C Em C F
‘’Now that it’s raining more than ever’’ … ‘’You can stand under my umbrella’’ etc
The Cure released their alternative rock track ‘Close To Me’ in 1985. The accompanying video shows the band huddled together in a wardrobe singing and calmly playing their instruments whilst all around is chaos:
‘’But if I had your faith then I could make it safe and clean’’ etc
The Ties That Bind
Madonna’s pop rock track of 1989 ‘Like A Prayer’ was scored for gospel choir which added an certain ambience to the spiritual message whose ethereal calm balanced out the energised digital piano and guitar motif:
F C Bb
‘’When you call my name, it’s like a little prayer’’ etc
Piano Versions 3 into 1
‘The Friends’ digital piano medley begins with ‘Umbrella’ as a rubato, mid-tempo solo rolls out the one minute rendition starting with spread chords. Joined first by solo cello and then by arco strings the tempo accelerates into a gallop and three become one. The original tracks played in the piano versions are easily discernible with the same chords and 4/4 time as a common thread.
From Facebook to let’s face it – this trio of buddies have become the best of friends. They even sit side-by-side on my digital piano!