Add This To Your Playlist: Week Fourteen- Rainy Day Songs

Mid-semester blues are a real thing and if you have midterms, papers and projects due, you’re probably feeling the weight of that stress too. Everything feels like it’s starting to speed up for the last half of the semester and neither my body nor my brain are prepared to handle all of the pressure. Days (or weeks) like these just make you want to stay inside and avoid all of the mounting work that needs to get done. In celebration of that feeling, I thought that there is no better representation of sadness, exhaustion and relief than rain.

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Song One: “Fool in the Rain” by Led Zeppelin

 

This classic by 1968 English rock legends Led Zeppelin has been just one of their many songs that have made an everlasting impression on music. Robert Plant (singer), Jimmy Page (guitarist), John Bonham (drummer) and John Paul Jones (bassist/keyboard player) make up one of the world’s most iconic rock bands. The band is often identified by Plant’s unique tone of voice and heavily drew their musical style from genres such as psychedelia, blues, and folk music. Their most successful song “Stairway to Heaven” influenced the band’s position in one of the most notable rock bands of all time.

 

While Led Zeppelin is driven by a unique sound, they also have quite unique lyricism. “Fool in the Rain” tells the tale of a man who is enamored with a woman and believes that he is being stood up, but realizes later that he is simply “waiting on the wrong block.” Plant sings to the listener about how much he feels for the woman as he says “I hate to think I’ve been blinded, baby.” He expresses here how cheated he feels because he thought that his feelings were mutual, but as it seems, the woman is less enthused at the prospect of love or lust. Throughout the song, Plant’s tone becomes more desperate as the minutes are passing and he’s beginning to rethink his entire relationship with this woman. He remarks on how she “promised [she’d] love so completely” but that her actions are not reflecting her words. Finally, he comes to the realization that he is in the wrong place and that he’s “got no reason to doubt” her.

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Song Two: “She’s in the Rain” by The Rose

 

The Rose is a South Korean pop-rock band that first got attention for their single “Sorry” off of their debut mini-album Void. The band, formed with J&Star Company, is made up of members Park Dojoon, Lee Hajoon, Kim Woosung, and Lee Jaehyeong. Their formation was not typical as Dojoon and Jaehyeong first met when they were busking on the streets of Hongdae. Jaehyeong later began busking with Hajoon and the three formed an indie trio that they named Windfall. In 2015, the three found their fourth member, Woosung, through a mutual friend and joined J&Star. In 2017, “Sorry” was named one of the best Korean pop songs of the year by Billboard and on October 4th of 2018, the band released their second mini-album Dawn.

 

“She’s in the Rain” is a heavily emotional song about a man who is struggling with loneliness and depression in his own life, but then comes to find a girl whom he finds captivating. He seems to ask outwardly towards no one in particular “Do you hear me, covered in gray fog?” He doesn’t believe that there is anyone around to listen to him and so he is enshrouded in his gloom. He then remarks “She’s in the rain” when he encounters a girl who also seems to be going through the same stages of pain, but instead of wearing it on her sleeve, she hides it. In the second verse, his question “Do you hear me?” is now directed at the girl as he addresses the “emptiness” he sees in her eyes. This song is so moving because it comes from a place where two people who are suffering find each other and make each other better. However, this song does not fall to the illusion that love can fix mental health. In fact, in the final chorus, the song takes a turn as the man sings “You wanna hurt yourself, I’ll stay with you.” He makes the promise that even if things go badly, he will not abandon her and will instead offer support and comfort through her difficulties.

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Song Three: “No Rain” by Blind Melon

 

This band formed in Los Angeles in the early 1990s and released two albums together. The unfortunate end to Blind Melon’s reign on neo-psychedelic rock came with the overdose of Shannon Hoon, lead singer of the band. After his death in 1995, the band split, but later reformed itself with a new vocalist, Travis Warren. In 2006, they produced a third album called For My Friends. The band is now planning the release of a new album, but no details have been given yet. Even so, “No Rain” released in 1993 remains the band’s most successful song.

 

Like much of the alternative rock genre, “No Rain” reflects a dissatisfaction with one’s life. The speaker of the song complains that his life is dull, claiming that the only things he can achieve are to “pour some tea for two and speak [his] point of view.” This assertion of his own ideas becomes a detriment, however, because he feels that his viewpoint is “not sane.” At the chorus, we are introduced to the speaker’s hopes for the direction of his life. He tells the audience that he just wants someone that will say “‘I’ll always be there when you wake.’” This reflects upon a desire to be nurtured and cared for, something that seems to be greatly lacking from his life in the present. The speaker makes it clear to his audience that his life is rooted in escapism as he “[sleeps] all day” and “[reads] a book to stay awake.” The only parts of his life that seem notable are when he is trying to live someone else’s, but he does not know how to aid his situation.

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Song Four: “Let it Rain” by Mat Kearney

 

Kearney has become best known for his first album with a major record Nothing Left to Lose that was released in 2006 and has now sold over 450,000 copies. The title track of the same name peaked at number 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 for a week. He has since received critical acclaim and landed five of his songs within the top 20 of the Adult Top 40 Chart. The soft rock artist was born in Eugene, Oregon, but later moved to Nashville. His latest album, CRAZYTALK, was released on May 4th, 2018.

 

“Let it Rain” is a song reflecting on hard times and how one can overcome them. The central message promotes the idea that sometimes, you just need to let your feelings be felt. The phrase “Let it rain” here is used as a metaphor for crying, which can often be a coping mechanism that helps to relieve pent up stress, frustration and sadness. He uses analogies throughout the verses, making suggestions to them to let it all out in various scenarios. One of the similes he chooses to use is reflected by the line “When the heart you’ve known feels like an empty home.” While the lyrics are simple, they are effective. This phrasing connotes a growing unfamiliarity with one’s self. Instead of being in correspondence with your own heart, it appears to you feeling vacant and hollow. Kearney later says “Just because it’s pouring down doesn’t mean we’re gonna drown,” implying that neither he nor his listeners will let the sadness overcome them.

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Song Five: “Who’ll Stop the Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

 

Creedence Clearwater Revival was an American rock band known throughout the 1960s and 1970s for their gruff tone and Southern rock flair (although the band themselves were in the San Francisco Bay Area). The members John Fogerty (lead vocalist and guitarist), Tom Fogerty (rhythm guitarist), Stu Cook (bassist) and Doug Clifford (drummer) were known for acquiring their musical style from the genres of swamp rock, roots rock and blues rock. Much of their songs delved into Southern iconography and the political climate of the Vietnam War. In 1969, the band performed at America’s most well-known music festival, Woodstock.

 

“Who’ll Stop the Rain” is a deeply reflective song that touches upon the problems mankind has had throughout the ages. In the opening lines of the song, Fogerty sings “As long as I remember, the rain’s been comin’ down.” Here the rain alludes to the unsolvable problems that people have seemed to have had since day one. Fogerty expresses both sadness and frustration in the fact that there seems to be no solution that is working. He makes reference to the “five year plans and new deals,” both economic plans made to solve financial problems within the government. In bringing these to light, he is illuminating that the same problems are trying to be solved by recycling and modifying economic structures, but Fogerty knows that the road forward will not be found in pushing money around. He asks the question “Who’ll stop the rain?” because he is so tired of seeing society exhaust itself by repeating the same mistakes.

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Song Six: “Northern Downpour” by Panic! At The Disco

 

Panic! At The Disco has made a big impact on the alternative rock and “emo” scene since the early 2000s. Although the band began with four members including Brendon Urie, Ryan Ross, Spencer Smith, and Brent Wilson, Urie is the only original member to have remained in the band. Urie is the frontman, lead singer and the only official member of the band. This being said, he tours with drummer Dan Pawlovich, bassist Nicole Row and guitarist Mike Naran. Panic! At The Disco’s debut album A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out went double-platinum after the success of the band’s single “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.” In June of 2018, the band released its sixth album Pray For The Wicked.

 

“Northern Downpour” was written by Ryan Ross back when the band still retained three of its four original members (Urie, Ross and Smith). It has long been debated if the band’s lyricism declined since Ross’s departure after the release of their second album Pretty. Odd. While I still have great respect for Urie and the various musical styles the band has taken on, I don’t believe there will ever be another song with quite the same lyrical quality as “Northern Downpour.” In the first verse of the song, Ross’s lyrics make references to the nature of human greed as he speaks of ridding himself of life’s excess. He sings “diamonds do appear to be just like broken glass to me” because he sees no more value in something we are told to covet than something we largely ignore but if cut the same way, would be indiscernible from the other. At the chorus, Ross sings addressing the moon by saying “Hey moon, please forget to fall down.” He wants the night to last so that he can spend time with his own thoughts and not to have to be confronted by the complications of the daytime. The song then shifts to the topic of a past love that Ross reflects on wistfully saying “I missed your skin when you were East, you clicked your heels and wished for me.” He wishes he has more time with this person outside of their complications, but life doesn’t always work that way.


Song Seven: “Come in From the Rain” by Melissa Manchester

 

This singer, songwriter, and actress has been a feature on Adult Contemporary radio stations since the 70s. Born in the Bronx, Manchester began her singing career at age 15 singing jingles for commercials and was enrolled at Manhattan’s High School of Performing Arts. She studied songwriting alongside Paul Simon and was first discovered by Barry Manilow. This talented woman also became a backup singer for Bette Midler as a member of the Harlettes. Her song released in 1982 “You Should Hear How She Talks About You” reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

 

This song takes on the melancholy story of two lovers who meet each other after having been apart for a long time. While this song is both sad and heartfelt, it explores the effects of time on a relationship. At the beginning of the song, Manchester greets this love by saying “Well hello there, good old friend of mine.” This beginning asserts a certain level of familiarity, in fact so much so that the speaker feels there is no need for this person to explain themselves; they can simply walk in. Even though there is clearly something to have made this person leave in the first place, the narrator casts it aside. Instead, she says “I think of us like an old cliché, but it doesn’t matter ‘cause I love you anyway.” She is willing to forgive the fact that it took this person such a long time to come back to her because she feels that they are both now in a better position to make this work. “Come in From the Rain” is a song that underscores the importance of forgiveness and maturity.

 

While rain is often used to represent sadness, it does not always function in this way. One thing that seems to thread its way through each of these songs, however, is the concept of reflection upon one’s self and one’s life. Perhaps rainy days are not meant for boredom or tears, but instead for careful contemplation.

Listen to the full playlist here!