If you’re in the Pacific Northwest, there’s a good chance that it’s raining when you read this…
It looks like we’re in for a fairly typical Portland winter, with grey skies dominating and those polite (and not so polite) rainy days outnumbering the dry and sunny ones. So, how are you holding up?
The playlist for this month’s Greetings From The Northwest just sounds like rainy Portland to me. If you’re having trouble with the gloom and rain, maybe this musical journey will help.
Here are a few of the way-posts on the trip:
Willie Nelson, Rainy Day Blues — Here is Willie Nelson at his jazziest/bluesiest, and I love his young voice on this song. Also, fitting material for the very wet (thus far) winter we’ve been experiencing: “..and if you don’t like this rainy weather, you’d better pack your bags and move.”
Irma Thomas, It’s Raining — One of my absolute favorite Irma Thomas songs, and a great example of the genius songwriter Allen Toussaint (may he rest in peace) on this 1962 hit. Thomas’ voice is in top form here, and the background singer’s drip-drop-drip-drop just sounds good on a rainy day.
The Cascades, Rhythm of the Rain — You’ve probably heard this song before since it was a big hit and has been featured in countless movies (including the Who’s Quadrophenia, more on that later), TV shows and commercials. No, The Cascades are not from the Pacific Northwest, they’re from San Diego — and this is one of the very few songs in the history of popular music where you’ll hear a wicked celesta solo — and it fits perfectly.
Ann Peebles, I Can’t Stand the Rain — Here’s a song that many have heard before, just not in its original form. Missy Elliot’s The Rain prominently featured a sample of this song. I love Misdemeanor, but the original always trumps a revamp. Listen for yourself, you’ll see why.
The Who, Love Reign O’er Me — This song is the cornerstone of the Who’s second rock-opera, Quadrophenia. The story is set in Brighton and London — which also share weather similar to our own in the winter. Despite this fact, Quadrophenia really feels like a Portland album. But don’t take my word for it, try it yourself and put Quadrophenia on during your morning commute or a long drive in the rain. The Who commiserate in your seasonal affective experience.
Travis, Why Does it Always Rain on Me? — This 1999 Britpop hit is a sad-sap sort of song, but a damn catchy one. Sometimes, it just feels good to hear about somebody else’s pain while you’re dealing with your own thing. Whatever gets you through the rain.