Rainy Rhythms

Tory Foulk

CocoRosie – “Tahiti Rain Song”

Freak-folk group CocoRosie is notorious for making music that sounds like it just escaped from a hallucinogenic dream about a pixie encounter, and “Tahiti Rain Song” is no exception. The duo is heavily inspired by Native American chants and culture, as their mother is part Native American. This track uses staticky sample sounds of rainfall and hollow, metal clanks that make the listener feel as though they’re standing in the middle of a downpour.

Gnarls Barkley – “Storm Coming”

Gnarls Barkley’s “Storm Coming” is about the fact that there are always rough patches in life (i.e., storms), but in those rough patches we can sometimes learn exciting truths about ourselves. Sometimes during rainy days, we need a solid, funky reminder that the sun will shine shortly after the clouds depart.

Grace Potter & Noctournals – “Nothing But The Water (I)”

One of the more stripped tracks by American rock group Grace Potter & the Noctournals, “Nothing But The Water (I)” has a definite gospel quality. “Many are the weak and the strong are few, but with the water we’ll start anew,” Potter rasps, inviting the listener to go to the stream with her to wash their sins away.

Puscifer – “Monsoons”

Puscifer’s “Monsoons” is unlike any other song in the group’s repertoire. Describing the desperate need for a monsoon in a dry desert, the track is surprisingly gentle and tranquil as opposed to the rest of its album, “Conditions of My Parole.” Maynard James Keenan’s hypnotic, pleading vocals are backed by an electronic drum beat, soft piano and strings, hinting at the soundscape of a creaking ship on an ocean.

Garbage – “Only Happy When It Rains”

“Only Happy When It Rains” by alternative rock outfit Garbage is possibly one of the most recognizable and widely-known songs about rain. Written for the band’s self-titled studio album, the dreary lyrics are a satire of the angst-ridden films and music of the 1990s (the song was released in 1995). Parody or not, we can all relate. Some days we just have a desire for darker themes – perhaps rainy days, especially.

Why? – “Waterlines”

Rapper Yoni Wolf describes his rise to fame in “Waterlines,” reconciling with the realization that it isn’t as glorious as he imagined. Overall, it’s an extremely clever track about feeling washed-up and lonely when what you expected – your “hobo’s wishlist,” as Wolf puts it – was something entirely different. While this selection isn’t necessarily about rain, Wolf’s rhythm and the slow, chill production impeccably fit into the atmosphere of inclement weather.

Tom Waits – “Rain Dogs”

Tom Waits’ “Rain Dogs” is a gritty, carnival-esque polka number that fits neatly into its album’s overall theme: the urban displaced. In the song Waits explains that, like many, he is a “rain dog.” In an interview with YOU magazine in 1985, he further described the concept:

“People who live outdoors. You know how after the rain you see all these dogs that seem lost, wandering around. The rain washes away all their scent, all their direction,” Waits said. “So all the people on the album are knit together, by some corporeal way of sharing pain and discomfort.”