We've talked at length about the rainy days of the heart, and the rainy days of the mind. All that's left is the rainy days of the natural world. I don't know what it's like where you're surfing from, but someone's been toggling the downpour switch here in Southern California. Our manic rainy day season deserves a soundtrack, something appropriately somber, wet, but not necessarily gloomy. After all, there is both a joy and a sadness in puddles, gray skies and the cold. So for those of us getting drenched, here's a VSQ-friendly playlist for all your rainy day needs. Stay dry out there, but not too dry. Alanis Morisette – "Thank U" An intrinsic part of any late '90s hit compilation, it may be safe to take this one out of the nostalgia box during the April showers. The reflective tone, mid-tempo pacing and subdued prettiness make this a comfortable fit for early morning drizzles. There's something about water from the sky that turns people inward – maybe it's the fact that we can't as freely go out into the world, or that we keep to ourselves to stay warm and dry and wrapped up. Whatever the reason, “Thank U” should make decent company. Bon Iver – "Blood Bank" If rain songs are about hitting that sweet spot of quietness and intimacy, Bon Iver does that mess all the time. While “Skinny Love” is the obvious career standout that even your Mom really likes, it's something like “Blood Bank” that stands out as a really good rain song. Bon Iver foregoes his trademark falsetto to tell us a story that alternates between a heartbeat-style drums and fragile, quiet moments. What more do you need to compliment an afternoon walk among the flooded gutters, or the tap tap tap of the rain? Interpol – "Hands Away" Interpol isn't a band that reels it back very often, but they're certainly capable of it. “Hands Away” is a slow burner, slowly picking up steam as the seconds tick by. It's got a focus on ambiance and atmosphere, instead of hooks and lyrics, that results in a whole lot of beautiful tension. It's the tension that sets the rainy mood for listeners and keeps things sharp and steady. Amy Winehouse – "Take The Box" Is there anything as fitting for gray days than a hearty soul song? The Frank track “Take The Box” is a reminder of what we lost with Amy Winehouse. A smooth, flexible voice adds romance to the rain that would otherwise just be an inconvenience. Despite being about an emotionally trying time, the song is restrained with a calm class, but still manages to relieve the heart's traffic. It's completely soulful for these slowed down days. Massive Attack – "Weather Storm" Trip hop's down-tempo ambiance and electronic stylings make it great dark weather music. But “Weather Storm” doesn't completely conform to that definition – it's definitely more jazzy, perhaps more suited to hypnotism than introversion. A good rain song isn't about engaging your full attention, but setting up intangible feelings to color the scene. A subtle, wordless 5 minutes from Massive Attack will do that for you and then some.
Be Sure to Check Out:
The String Quartet Tribute to Alanis Morrissette's Jagged Little Pill Available at Amazon
String Quartet Tribute to Massive Attack