Monday, July 24, 2006

"Love, Reign o'er Me"

I couldn't decide whether to blog this song or Everything But the Girl's "Missing".
Most of us are gasping under the hammering basilisk stare of the sun, commending our souls to the sauna-like sardine tins of public transport each morning and evening, and a breath of fresh, cool air or a fine mist of rain would come in really handy.
So when I happened to be sitting on a train outside London tonight, waiting for the sweet relief of a green light and some progress, what should pop into my head but this song...
"Only love/Can make it rain/The way the beach/Is kissed by the sea/Only love/Can make it rain/Like the sweat of lovers/Laying in the fields." Of course the bit about sweating was a modest turn-off at that precise moment, given that I was getting very intimate with someone's armpit at the time, but you get the idea.
And as I was singing this song to myself, suddenly I found myself making the leap from Roger Daltrey's howl to Tracey Thorn's sweet sweet voice murmuring: "And I miss you/Like the deserts miss the rain." I don't want to come across all nerdy or anything, but rain's much on the general mind these days. Rain, lack of; water, shortages of in coming years; heat and humidity, excessive; warming, global.
Ahem. Back to the subject.
If ever a song were to define the words "magnum opus", I think this would be the one. The sheer scale of the ambition, the immense scope of the song put it right up there with "Stairway to Heaven", a journey taken in a few short minutes from the calm reflection of nostalgia and wistfulness to joyful declamation and decision.
We begin the trip huddling for shelter from the rain, listening to it chill our very souls and as the song progresses we move out into the open, we stand tall beneath its cleansing flow, growing in confidence until at the end we are out there holding hands with nature, accepting and revelling.
Even Daltrey's voice seems to have a freshness about it, a hoarseness that comes not from the dryness of an oppressively hot and dusty day, but from screaming out in joy at nothing and everything. It's the vocal equivalent of an ice-cold drink at the end of a long, hot day.

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