This story was originally published on October 8, 2010.
It’s no surprise weather patterns appear so often in music. They, like music, can shape and reflect our moods at any given time. More importantly, they’re good for a seemingly infinite number of metaphors. They can change from minute to minute. Just like your aching heart. They can rain on your parade. Just like, you know, rain. They can brighten up the entire planet! Just like EVERYTHING ELSE can, when you’re having one of those days when everything is golden and drenched in sunshine and “Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues” is your own personal theme song. It all starts in the sky. With global warming, and the constantly changing weather of autumn in mind, this week’s BitchTapes is a big ol’ shout out to Mother Nature.
Side note: It was incredibly hard for me not to put “Mr. Sun” by Raffi on this list. The things I do for hipster cred. Forgive me, Raffi. You are number one in the playlist of my heart.
1. Neko Case - “This Tornado Loves You”
I will never be sick of this song. It’s heartbreaking, it’s epic, it’s relatable. It’s the most beautiful way I’ve ever heard someone say, “You broke my heart and I want to tear you to pieces but also I love you.” Case is a songwriting genius, and deserves every ounce of accolade she has gotten lately, loathe as I have been to release her from my indie grasp into the mainstream. Swim free, Neko. Swim free.
2. Patty Griffin - “Rain”
My favorite musical artist of all time, ever, no contest, period. No sad thing that’s happened to me has ever been more sad than this song, and I find that strangely comforting.
3. Blind Melon - “No Rain”
Celebrity deathmatch, Patty vs. Blind Melon. GO! But seriously. I grew up in the rain and thought I needed only sun. Then I moved to Southern California and realized that all I wanted on the planet was to listen to Blind Melon, drink tea, and watch puddles gather rain. Sing it, Shannon.
4. The Weepies - “I Was Made for Sunny Days”
But I do still really, really love the sun. And now I’m back in the Northwest and when the fabulous Weepies sing about their adorable sunny lives in Southern California, I feel confused inside.
5. The Low Anthem - “Keep on the Sunny Side”
How is it that folk singers always manage to make songs, even about sunshine, SO SAD?
6. Laura Marling - “Goodbye England (Covered in Snow)”
That’s enough sunshine. Let’s get excited about moody, grey days covered in snow! (I’m not being sarcastic. When it’s really late at night but the snow makes it bright outside? That’s so cool!)
7. The Mrs. - “Hurricane”
Hurricanes: Of all the natural disasters, do they translate in song to most danceability? You decide.
8. Joan Osborne - “Hurricane”
Dear Joan Osborne, when I was an awkward high schooler, listening to this song made me feel like I was a gorgeous, sexy force of nature. Now I’m in my mid-20’s and I still feel like that when I listen to this song. And I’m still pretty awkward. But I’m also those other things too. Anyway. Thanks for the help! Love, Katie.
9. Kimya Dawson - “It’s Been Raining”
Like any good Northwesterner, Kimya understands deeply the connections between sadness, mortality, and rain.
10. The Beatles - “Here Comes the Sun”
And, like any good mixtape/life experience in general, this one contains “Here Comes the Sun.”