Sunday, April 10, 2011

I Think It's Going to Rain Today


"I Think It's Going To Rain Today"
by Randy Newman
from Randy Newman (1968)

Broken windows and empty hallways,
Pale dead moon in a sky streaked with grey.
Human kindness is overflowing,
And I think it's going to rain today.

Scarecrows dressed in the latest styles -
Frozen smiles to chase love away.
Human kindness is overflowing,
And I think it's going to rain today.

Lonely, lonely.
Tin can at my feet,
Think I'll kick it down the street.
That's the way to treat a friend.

Bright before me, the signs implore me:
Help the needy and show them the way.
Human kindness is overflowing,
And I think it's going to rain today
.

These days, most people think of Randy Newman as the composer and songwriter for numerous Pixar films, such as Toy Story, and the recent Disney film, The Princess and the Frog.  His familiar raspy singing style graces jaunty tunes like "You've Got a Friend In Me."  However, Newman is a master songwriter and the song "I Think It's Going To Rain Today" appeared on his self-titled debut album in 1968.  This astounding song has been covered by literally dozens of artists, including Dusty Springfield, Nina Simone, Judy Collins, Peter Gabriel, Joe Cocker, Norah Jones, Audra McDonald, Cleo Laine, Lyle Lovett, Helen Reddy, and Bette Midler (particularly popularized in the film Beaches).

Though written in standard AABA song form, these lyrics ARE poetry (and there is a difference ...).  Bleak and distressing metaphors cut deeply in this melancholy look at alienation and the frequent unkindness of humanity.  I can't help but sigh, shake my head, and get a little teary when I hear the line "Tin can at my feet, think I'll kick it down the street, that's the way to treat a friend."  Tragic, poignant, and devastating.

1 comment:

  1. Aww. I just love that song. I almost sang it for my students at the end of last year- but decided on Homeward Bound (not the Simon and Garfunkel one) instead.

    Awesome song choice!

    ReplyDelete