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Rainy Day Tunes
June 24, 2009, 2:13 am
Filed under: music and musings

The weather has been absolutely shoddy the past couple of weeks (it’s been alright today though) and makes me think of rainy day music. I think a lot about post-rock like Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky with their blasting pinnacles of sound that thunderously explode through speakers like rain storms.  But it’s not just the smattering twinkling of instruments that creates this ability to be great rainy-day music. It’s an emotion present in the energy of the songs, so I really enjoy listening or this type of music in the rain. Though there’s tons more:

Azure Ray, especially the self-titled album is perfect for rainy days with glazed-over vocals blazing above trickling piano like the song “Sleep.” It’s hopeful and sweet, like a feeling you’d like to know on a rainy day. But they also have low simple guitar tunes with the same gentle almost monotone vocals that have a little less hope to them but feel gorgeously appropriate for gray skies and soaked shoes. The album has orchestral parts in songs that share something innocent with you, something that allows you to know that at some point, it might stop raining.

I think that not everything can be rainy day music, and I will surely research and find more that is really fitting for the rain but right now these are the sounds that are on my brain as I trudge through the soggy streets of Brooklyn. More rainy day song suggestions:

Jeff Buckley- “Grace”

I like “Grace” in rainy weather partly because of the gorgeous guitar part it opens with, the high-pitched strumming that recurs throughout the song.  It is really uplifting but still has this vulnerability that one feels when they are soaking wet. I can imagine or recall, I can’t remember walking soaking wet in the rain listening to this song. If it hasn’t already happened, I’m sure it will one day.

Leonard Cohen- “Take This Waltz”

This song opens like the beginning of “Beauty and the Beast” but it has the low kindling vocals of Leonard Cohen that just sound like what firewood smells like.  I think of this song in the rain because it feels French with its waltz-y strings and for some reason I think of dancing to the song inside while rain is falling outside in gallons. And when the female vocals echo atop Cohen’s baritone,  “I’ll dance with you in Vienna, I’ll be wearing a river’s disguise…” it just feels so careful and planned, like stepping through rings of fire, or puddles for that matter. This song would make me feel a lot better about the fact that it’s raining, which is why it comes to mind in these warm but exhaustingly rainy days.

Broken Social Scene- “7/4 (shoreline)”

This song starts with such a sureness about it, the guitar line is plucking and delicate but so pointed in it’s clarity that when the clinking drums chime in you are already hooked. This song could make any rainy day seem much better. Inside or out, it’s just an up song, but it’s not a crazy dance-y upbeat song that seems like too much for such monotonous weather, it’s perfectly clear and gentle, not too forceful. It makes me think of water, probably because “shoreline” is in the title, but BSS always does a great job of conveying a lot of imagery in their music and this is a perfect example of that.

Cap’n Jazz- “Puddle Splashers”

“We’re busy touching til we’re dizzy stupid” it starts out until the song breaks into spastic drums as opposed to the controlled quick pattering during the verse.  I think this is a great distraction song from crappy weather, or a great song to do exactly as it suggests.  I love the simple joys of  it, its very open and understated and it is called “Puddle Splashers” so why not think about rain? Any song by Cap’n Jazz for the matter is pretty great for rainy weather, it’s all muddled and slightly angsty but absolutely non-sensical and fun to just listen to while rain is pattering in the background.

Casiotone For the Painfully Alone- “Toby Take a Bow”

The first note that opens this tune is the exact chord rain would make in my mind. And the pitter-patter electronic drums just add the warm low tone in a very secondary manner. But those repeating chords as Owen Ashworth sings in endearingly though still somewhat deadpan really get me. Not all his songs are good for bad weather but this song is two minutes of absolute rain music.

Cocorosie- “Good Friday”

While we’re on an electronic music kick, lets move over to the odd, off-kilter tune by sister duo Cocorosie.  This song is less electro mix and more strange whirring noises and the sounds of things breaking while the Billy Holiday vocals mix with operatic style singing or whisper above the noise.  It makes me think of playgrounds and light rain. Sitting on damp, rusty swing-sets in abandoned parks, trading secrets on a rainy summer night, grayish blue almost dark skies and maybe dry heat lightning storms.

The Detachment Kit- “Ricochet”

This song is so uncharacteristic to me of Detachment Kit but it is also a great rainy day song. A slow guitar riff enters into light vocals singing in a way that sounds like rain ricocheting off of sidewalks. I love the guitar part and as the drums enter it’s just this simple piece about things falling apart and it completely feels like rain causing everything to go wrong. It’s like every step that rain goes through, starting with the dark clouds and then the light beginning of just drizzle to just a steady falling of thick plopping drops.

What I love about all this music is it’s not just specifically for these gross days we are encountering.  Some music I can only listen to in the winter or the spring, or specifically in the morning but these songs are great for rain that will never end but also for many other occasions, which is what music should be. Always.

That’s it for now. Hopefully it is almost done raining every day and soon I can write about awesome summer tunes (The Clash anyone??)

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