"Parachute" is a song by British recording artist Cheryl Cole. It was co-written by Marshall Altman and Ingrid Michaelson and recorded for Cole's debut studio album3 Words (2009). The song was released on 11 March 2010 as the album's third and final single. "Parachute" became Cole's third consecutive solo UK top 5 hit, and her third Irish top 10 hit. It was nominated for a Brit Award in 2011.
Lyrically the song was criticized for being "mundane" but also well written enough to "get horribly stuck in everyone's heads". The song has an overall "tender and mourningful" theme. Critics noted that "Parachute" was one of several songs on the album where there "lurks a deeper undertow of paranoia". Cole also said that the song contains her favourite lyric from the album; "you are your own worst enemy, you'll never win the fight". Other lyrics such as "I don't need a parachute, baby if I got you" led to the song being labelled "sultry" as the subject of the lyrics appeared to be Cole's spouse Ashley though at the time the couple had announced their separation. The timing of the single release was described as "bittersweet" due to the "talk about being safe in the love of another person" in the lyrics.
The song received positive reviews from music critics. BBC Music's Mike Diver said, in the album's review, that the "Parachute" is "memorable" due to its use of "military percussion" and Nick Levine of Digital Spy claimed that the track contains a "cute combination" of "strings and sweet nothings". Tom Ewing of The Guardian said that the song was "an austere take on modern pop that gives Cole's voice the space it needs" and Louise McCudden of In The News said that, despite having "possibly the most lyrically mundane chorus [she had] ever heard", "Parachute" is a "well-calculated song" that gets stuck in the listener's head.MusicOMH writer Sam Shepherd voiced his belief that the song includes's Cole's best vocal from the album and he praised the "deftly orchestrated production" and Andy Gill of The Independent said that there is an "undertow of paranoia" in the piece. Later Fraser McAlpine, during his chart blog review of the song, awarded "Parachute" five out of five stars, saying "Cheryl's pleading voice strikes home. Hard. [..] It's nothing to do with anything which is happening in her personal life, I don't need the back-story to get carried away, it's simply that she sings these tender, mournful lyrics as if she means every word."4 Music described the track as an "instant stand-out" from the album and claimed that Cole's "well-executed vocal performance", together with the mix of "military-style percussion with delicate strings", meant the track would be "another huge hit". It was named as Single Of The Week by Ram FM, described as "sultry pop at its finest".
Following the initial broadcast of Cheryl Cole's Night In, the song entered the UK Singles Chart at number 65 because of digital downloads, on the issue dated 26 December 2009.
The song re-entered the chart at eighty-eight on 9 January 2010. On 14 February 2010, The single made its Top-forty debut by appearing at number twenty-six. By the end of March 2010 the song reached its highest peak of five giving Cole her third consecutive top-five UK hit and third consecutive top-ten hit in Ireland. In Ireland it had a similar chart trajectory although it did manage to peak at number four, one position higher than in the UK.
The accompanying music video for "Parachute" was filmed in early January 2010 at Eltham Palace in London and made its debut on T4 at 12.20 GMT on 31 January 2010. The concept of the video is very much the same of that of the performance on Cheryl Cole's Night In; Cole performs a Latin dance routine with Derek Hough and a group of other dancers. The video was directed by AlexandLiane and produced by Factory Films.
Digital Spy was complimentary about Cole's choice of attire in the video, whilst the Daily Mail praised the choreography. Promo News also gave the video a good review and called it "a top-notch pop vid". The video caused some controversy after it was claimed that Cole was using imagery associated with the Hindu goddessKali.
Cole debuted "Parachute" on the television special Cheryl Cole's Night In, which was broadcast on 12 December 2009 on ITV1. During the performance, Cole wore "a hot pink tiered skirt and asymmetrical sequinned body" and she performed a Latin dance with Derek Hough, a professional champion of Dancing with the Stars. The Daily Mail was complimentary of the performance, saying that Cole "looked every inch the Spanish Señorita as she performed the sexy sequence". Rick Fulton of the Daily Record was complimentary of the performance as he compared the dance routine that accompanied "Parachute" to a routine from the programme Strictly Come Dancing.