I mentioned in a previous post that Elliott Smith’s music is indelibly associated in my mind with the rainy season here in south Florida. Of course, since rainy season here is very long (something like six months, possibly?), and I am hardly the person to listen to the same thing for more than a month (though I do listen to particular albums sometimes as long as a month), there are more options for me, and more songs that capture a rainy day for me.
Since rainy season seems to have started early this year, here are some of my picks:
OKGo, “Let it Rain.” This one is a bit obvious, I admit. A song with lyrics like “let it rain, let it pour,” that’s going to remind you of rain unless you’re incredibly stupid. But the thing is, it’s not just the lyrics—there’s the color of Damian Kulash’s voice (a silvery blue), the bright electric guitar and blue-green acoustic. There’s also the fact that it’s in waltz time, and somehow, my brain feels like waltzes are reminiscent of rain. I try to avoid asking it more questions than necessary. And finally, possibly because I started to love this song during rainy season, the first dozen or so times I heard it, it started raining.
I mentioned him in the previous post, but I’ll say it again: Elliott Smith wrote perfect music for rainy days. A great example (other than the other ones I wrote about before) is “Going Nowhere” from the posthumously releasedNew Moon. The picking and strumming are reminiscent of drizzling raindrops, and of course Smith’s voice is rainy-day-blue. It’s fairly unembellished, too; there are some extra little melodic components beyond voice and guitar, but they’re unobtrusive.
Another wet season classic, for me anyway, is Foo Fighters’ “February Stars.” Other notable excellent occasions for this song include when you’re getting your wisdom teeth pulled and they’ve put you on IV drugs (I know this from experience: this song was on my playlist). It has a dreamy quality, and the spare instrumentation through the majority of the song is just perfectly suited for a wet, gray day. The three song run (“February Stars,” “Everlong,” and “Walking After You”) are all excellent for that purpose, in fact. In fact, if you don’t have The Colour and The Shape, you need it. You absolutely must add it to your library.
Not all of my choices are sad/dreamy/lonely, though. I also love listening to Regina Spektor’s “Aching to Pupate” on rainy days. Actually, most days, I am perfectly happy to hear that song. It doesn’t have any instrumentation, but Regina Spektor has a gorgeous voice, and a wonderful talent for emphasis and phrasing.
Finally, we come to The Beatles, both collectively and in their post-band years. I love Beatles music for a rainy day; nothing says curling up all lazy day like The White Album, for example. One day, I will write an entire post about “Happiness is a Warm Gun” and all its complexities. But today, I will just mention that it is a very, very good song when you’re lying on the floor, wearing headphones (the cushy, soft kind, not the annoying stick-in-your-ear buds), watching the rain come down outside. Then, of course, there’s also “Cry Baby Cry,” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” That second one shouldn’t need any explanation. But I mentioned post-Beatle careers, didn’t I? “I’m Losing You,” mentioned in another post as a song I’d love to cover one day, is a great song for the rain. George Harrison’s “Marwa Blues,” is another one. It gives you the feeling that, no matter how bleak the rain is, the sun will eventually have to come out again (this is a message echoed by “All Things Must Pass,” of course).
I could go on forever, I’m sure. I’ve already exceeded my usual number of links in a post; I guess that’s testament to the fact that I’ve lived in a state that has a six-month wet season for years and years. Of course, I also haven’t plumbed the depths of my rainy-day music, but the rest will have to wait for future posts, as I’m sure I’ve probably surpassed everyone’s attention span as it is.