Monsoon PlaylistJuly 15, 2011
Pages and pages of poetry have been written about rain, and the feelings it evokes on everyone. Even the most cynical become lyrical about the first shower of summer, and the superbly nostalgic smell of freshly wet earth; the subtle hiss that celebrates the first drop of rain meeting dry land after seasons. For me, the rain means hot tea and savory snacks and a book to read and, most importantly, gorging on a rich feast for the ears. Because if you love the rains, you have to love listening to the sound it makes as it hits the roof or slides down the window pane. Throw in a few “just right” songs to it and what you have is a new definition for perfection. Tried and tested.
So if you don’t have a “just right” playlist ready at hand, here’s readymade help. Customized to suit every mood, to feed every emotion. Before you go ahead and listen to the playlist though, make sure you have the right ambiance (oh, but I swear by the right ambiance) Turn off all other thoughts for the next forty minutes (the duration of this playlist), and release yourself to fall free like the raindrops falling outside. Here we go!
January Rain (David Gray): Now I know, I know this is not about the monsoon, but you got to listen to this one to begin with. An instrumental guitar piece I first heard in the movie Serendipity, I love this one for its soft flow. Trust me when I say listening to this song feels like waking up to everything serene and beautiful, so much like waking up to the soft patter of rain outside your window. You’ll find yourself thinking about happy yellows and pretty pastels despite the gloomy gray of the rain.
Banana Pancakes (Jack Johnson): How many times have you woken up in a rainy morning wishing you could go back to sleep just a little bit more, hoping someone would come and say “Hush, it’s okay, you can sleep in, you know”? Here’s help if there’s no one around to tell you this. I love this song because it is, again, a very happy one. And by the time you are through with this, you will actually find yourself invigorated and humming happily, looking forward to the day already. That’s the beauty of the rhythm in this song.
Here Comes The Rain Again (Annie Lenox): This song has been an old favorite, and I have a strange attachment to it despite, or maybe because of its blatant mushiness (holler if you agree that rain brings out the romantic in all of us). Be it the sultry voice of Annie Lenox or the absence of an overpowering rhythm, whatever it is, this song would make you sway to its mood. And before you know it, you would have surrendered to mush. Hear her sing “So baby talk to me, like lovers do. Walk with me, like lovers do” and try resist the urge to talk and walk with the one you love. In the rain.
I Can’t Stand The Rain (Seal): From mushy acoustic to touching soul. From soft temptation to powerful convincing. We all have rain-related memories, and I bet no love story is complete without a rainy episode in it. This song is a toast to the mundane and seemingly trivial that end up being some of the most significant memories in a relationship. Like rain against a window. I absolutely love Seal’s strong voice, and the saxophone accompanying him in tandem in this one, and I am sure this one will have you scanning your recollections for “that fateful rainy day” in your life as well. Especially if the one with whom you shared that day is not together with you anymore. Painful, but true.
Crying In The Rain (Aha): Forgive me for continuing the melancholy thread of thoughts, but this one is a classic rain song, the acoustic equivalent of the storm of emotions building inside your heart. You know, the ones which make you want to run and run in the rain, and pour your heart out until there’s nothing left inside? “I’ll do my crying in the rain” is precisely about that feeling. The harmony (seconds) in the verse is particularly beautiful, and the song in its entirety will tug at those corners in your heart you’d rather leave untouched.
Heartbeat (Nneka): Now this song has nothing in it about the rain, but I still insist on putting this one up out here. Why? Because the way the song flows makes me think of a typical summer downpour. The way the songs starts resembles the onset of a shower, and it gradually moves on to a steady beat, much like heavy rainfall, and ultimately climaxes in a super wanton chorus, like a full blown thunderstorm. This is one of the few songs that is about pain, but is not melancholy. On the other hand, it would remind you of aggression. Of passion. And of lightning and thunder and all that add up to the torrential heart, and the torrential summer alike.
Skinny Love (Birdy): Again a song with no rain in it whatsoever, except that the song is like a shower of emotions, about pleading and coaxing love to last just a little while more. This song is the perfect foil to the previous song with its passionate beats, and yet in its own way, it echoes the transition from slow and soft to steadfastly rich, also like, you got it, summer rain. The piano notes forming the backbone in the song is a welcome addition for people like me who love everything steady yet lavish. Perfect song to listen to in those rainy evenings, with a dim light glowing somewhere.
Mississippi (Train): After the thunderstorms, both wild and mild are over, tranquility is what I find myself looking for, and this song is just the right one for the purpose. You know the kind of shower in summer when it is slightly yet steadily drizzling, and the sun is kind of trying to peek in weakly through the still rain heavy clouds? When you feel uplifted because the rain had washed away everything gray and dirty and all that remains is lush greenery and a sparkling crisp air? This song is exactly like that. Although it sings of love that is found and yet not possessed, it somehow makes you imbibe peace. Much like the drizzle after a thunderstorm.
It Never Entered My Mind (Miles Davis): No summer playlist for me is complete without jazz, and whenever I think of jazz I think of Miles Davis and this superb instrumental piece. This piece was used in the movie Runaway Bride in an awesomely emotional moment, so it would just be fair to say I associate romance with it. Although you would associate romance with it even if you haven’t watched the movie. This piece, for me, is like making way for everything that is soft and tender, after all the passion has been wiped out, all the sadness has been cleaned out. The saxophone is bound to make you stop whatever you are doing and sit still and just absorb all of it into your soul, because your soul is exactly where this piece will touch you.
I Go To Sleep (Sia): Yes, humor me. But you can’t deny the fact that sleep is an inherent and beautiful part of summer rains… Who doesn’t love to curl up inside sheets, and let the rain lull them into sweet sleep? I love it when it starts raining just as I am about to sleep at night, and what makes it perfect is this song by Sia on repeat. This one is blatantly mushy as well, but ah, all the better to ensure sweet dreams, what say? Sia’s soulful voice is one of the most beautiful things that have fallen on my ears, and her perfect modulation just makes it so much more exquisite. Word of advice: to fully enjoy the beauty of this song, cuddle up in bed with the lights turned off, close your eyes, and just let go.
So there you have it.-From morning to night. From the light summer drizzle to powerful thunderstorms-Ten songs that carry you through all of these. Enjoy the monsoon, folks. And let music carry you through all the emotions, enhancing and enriching them all the way.
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