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Rihanna Brings "Rated R" Tracks and Her "Umbrella" to "GMA"

November 24, 2009 12:00 AM ET

When Rihanna took the stage early today for an appearance on Good Morning America, she faced a crowd that had been waiting in the misty morning for several hours to catch a glimpse of the star the day after Rated R hit stores. When she emerged from behind a black backdrop, they erupted. She half-smiled, then asked, "What's happening, New York?"

Get a look at Rihanna's fiercest fashions, onstage and off.

Rihanna kept a black coat on during sound check and seemed reserved, standing wooden during run-throughs of "Wait Your Turn," "Russian Roulette" and her mega-hit "Umbrella." But then she disappeared behind the backdrop for hair and makeup. At 8:30 a.m., she emerged looking radically different, in a white tuxedo mini-dress that became the subject of one of her between-take interviews. "I'm a little too fat right now — the zip busted in the back!" she told host Robin Roberts of her original outfit. "They wanted to stitch it up, but I couldn't."

When the band kicked into first tune "Wait Your Turn," Rihanna grooved, easing across the stage to the distorted beat. After the track's sudden ending, she stood with hands on her hips, staring intensely at the audience for a few seconds. She cracked a smile, casually pushing back her neon-orange bangs with one swoosh, and broke down in laughter, a definite welcome break from character.

After spilling news of her busted dress, Rihanna spoke about her new disc and how trips to the studio were a welcome break from the scrutiny she was facing in the wake of her altercation with Chris Brown. "Every emotion that I was going through at that time throughout making the record went into the album," she said, adding that the studio was the one place she "didn't feel judged or criticized." The singer recently told Ryan Seacrest Rated R is "a really personal album and I wouldn't have made it any other way."

Sunday night, Rihanna took the stage at the American Music Awards, where Adam Lambert grabbed headlines for his controversial performance.

"Wait Your Turn":

"Umbrella":

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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