Roxette
Editorial
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Ghost tracks

Ghost Tracks: THE RAIN


FEATURE – Ghost Tracks is BACK! Series 2 of our 10-part special returns where we take a fun look back at some of the forgotten and rarely ever mentioned Roxette songs from their incredible 30 year history.


05_tourism_cover

Song: The Rain
Album: Tourism
Year: 1992
Track: #5

 

Firstly, let’s discuss the word “tragedy” as defined by the dictionary:

“tragedy”
/traʒidi/ (noun)
1. an event causing great suffering, destruction or distress
2. not releasing “The Rain” as a single. 

 

Every band takes a mistep. They zig when they should’ve zagged. They do this instead of that. Some bands even go as far as putting a tour bus on the cover of an album with passport headshots on it… sorry, but I really can’t forgive them for that one… still causes me nightmares. Here’s one of the great missed opportunities of all time; “The Rain”.

How about a round of applause for all those involved in the creation and recording of this absolute gem! Power chords, power vocals, haunting piano, soaring chorus, key changes, yes folks, the year is 1992 and this is a quintessential Roxette ballad!

OK, let’s get controversial. I think “The Rain” should have followed “How Do You Do!” as the second single instead of “Queen of Rain” (please, send all hate mail to Thomas). This is not an attack on the lovely “Queen of Rain” – and I know Per and everyone in the Rox Community will disagree with me but this song, I feel, had more “hit potential”. Just my opinion… feel free to comment below and argue the point.

Stirring is an adjective that comes to mind when trying to describe this song. That opening piano chord, wow, it’s so stirring. Slightly unsettling, haunting, it feels almost cold – the piano intro feels serious, like the team are trying to make a point with this song. “Fading Like a Flower” kicks off with a lovely piano intro but there’s something warm and inviting about the sound of that opening piano versus the one used in “The Rain” – perhaps someone more musically astute can enlighten me on the more technical terminology that I’m lacking, but this opening feels sharper, less polished and more haunting in a way.

The beauty of this amazing track are of course, the Roxette elements. This song weaves it’s way through a slow haunting build, a dramatic chorus and then around the 2:45 mark, it simmers right down to a lush, ethereal soundscape of whispering synths swirling around one another before Jonas steps in and breaks your ribs with that solo.

Can we talk about the peroxide blonde woman for a second? Her vocals during the opening verse gives no indication of the raw emotion and soaring vocals that awaits the listener during the chorus. It’s such a controlled performance. Such a slow build. At 47 seconds the drums and that guitar kick in “and the season turned into another one” – uh-oh, thought it was going to be a simple, understated song, right? Wrong! This is a slow build. 47 seconds into it, we get the new elements. Layer by layer. Bit by bit, we’re building folks, we are building. But not too quickly now, there’s even a gentle whisper of  “…so softly” to keep the balance just right and then – BANG… the chorus! Marie picks it up a notch, not too much just yet, Roxette are building. Don’t you love that relaxing, gently, interwoven synth in the background almost mimicking rain drops, mesmerizing the listener to keep the balance of grunting guitars and Marie’s building vocals just right.

The major change I feel is “disappearing like an aeroplane” that serves as the link from a controlled ballad to balls out, grab you by the throat. Of course by the time the chorus has come around a third time, Marie’s commanding your attention with power and soul. All the elements intensify by this point, the keys, the vocals… the guitar… ahh yes, the guitar. Let’s talk about the bloke on the guitar. Anyone who’s ever read any of my TDR articles may have possibly picked up on my not-so-subtle Jonas Isacsson references and my overwhelming bias towards the great man… hey, it’s Series 2, so I can take some liberties, right? So listen to this song and you’ll understand my bias/obsession. How perfect is that solo? Don’t you love how Clarence and co. build the song up to those traditional Roxette heights and then at 2:45 slowly wind it back down as the aural spotlight turns its attention to Jonas and his big red guitar – and then boom, that unmistakable Jonas solo takes the song to a whole new stratosphere. This song is so delicately layered. There’s Marie’s incredible powerhouse vocal performance. Clarence on the keys and then they break it down for Jonas to show us why he’s the master. All the elements (there’s that word again) so neatly interwoven to create such Roxette magic!

Also. How about that demo? I love listening to demos for curiosity’s sake and picking up on little things, appreciating them as historical artefacts. Rarely, do I listen to demos for pleasure, but this is one of those rare ones that sounds so cool!

Here’s one saving grace, this song was a regular feature on the Crash! Boom! Bang! World Tour. Thank goodness “The Rain” got it’s time in the sun… clever, huh? The live version is incredible and interestingly enough, the band performed it without that recognizable piano intro, instead opting for rain/thunder sound effects and a slow guitar build up leading into Marie’s opening line “I was raised the Northern way…”

Don’t you just love that we get a glimpse of the song’s title in the second line of the opening verse “…I did my crying out in the pouring rain“?

See, for me. I like “Queen of Rain” but I think I prefer the 1993 MTV Unplugged version or any live versions because it doesn’t feel as produced, the Tourism version feels a little too light? Too soft? Combine the “grittier” production of “The Rain” to the melody and structure of “Queen of Rain” and I think you’ve got the perfect balance. But what do I know?

Here’s what Per Gessle had to say about “The Rain” in his book Songs, Sketches and Reflections: “One of my favorite lyrics and songs, written in July 1991 in the middle of the very long ‘Join the Joyride’ World Tour. It was custom made for our brand new big Roxette sound and it eventually showed up on the Tourism album in 1992. We played it a lot live and it’s always been a treat“.

So there we have it, a classic, typical sounding Roxette big ballad. Go dust off Tourism and crank this one up!

“…I found a heart bright like the morning sun…”

Thoughts from The Daily Roxette crew:

Paul: Another classic Roxette song.  Nothing much more to add to Stevo‘s comments apart from I agree with everything he has said!

Thomas: Love this song, always have and probably always will! I was raised the Northern way as well. I guess?

 

  ★ The author:
Stevo


  ★ Publishing date:

October 5th, 2015


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This article was posted here on TDR in these categories:

TDR:Editorial, TDR:Exclusive, TDR:Ghost Tracks, TDR:Roxette.

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  • James Crompton

    Beautiful song this one. I do love Queen Of Rain as well. In fact I love the whole Tourism album. It’s Roxette going back to their roots. I like the folk and country elements of it, and I think its lyrically strong too. Cinnamon Street anyone. That”s one of my faves. The Rain is a great track. But there are so many gems on this album.

    • BVerfG

      So many awesome songs, “Keep me waiting” and “Silver Blue” and “Here comes the weekend” as well as “Cinnamon street”. The lyrics are just awesome. Not to mention “Heart-shaped sea” and the slow “Things will never be the same”. The lyrics are just breathtaking. I know for most people Joyride is Roxettes magnum opus, but for me it will always be Tourism.

      • James Crompton

        Me too. I like everything on there, even better than the live versions of the hits. Its a great album to take on the road. Its just a great mood album. And I just really like those stripped down acoustic numbers and the folky, country roots. But that’s one of the things I love about Roxette is that they experiment with a lot of styles and every album is quite different in that respect. Son Of A Plumber perhaps has a similar feel to Tourism if there’s any other album that can be compared to it.

  • Adam Bilavčík

    Absolutely don’t agree…. Why should be The Rain a single instead of Queen Of Rain? The Rain has not hit potential at all. Their choice was good. Why you waste your time with such stories….

    • Paul Belben

      Like the article says, Ghost Tracks is about getting people discussing the music again. The series has been very well received and, generally, people are enjoying the articles and getting involved in the conversation. Sorry you don’t feel the same.

    • Stevo Petkovic

      Adam, thank you kindly for your incredible feedback and insightful and intelligent comments. I cannot express to you how much your genius has just changed my life for the better now. Adam, you are without a doubt, the greatest person the world has ever seen. Please never stop making such fascinating contributions to life! I promise, next time, I will write 10 articles about you and your amazing impact on the universe!

  • Coolbluez

    I love ‘The rain’ because it inspired me to write lyrics. How can one write lyrics about ‘rust of chain’ and every time I saw an aero plane, I would be reminded of ‘Disappearing like an aeroplane’. I literally used to watch the planes disappearing by in clouds. One very subtle sound effect is the sound of a propeller/ fan at 01:57-58 when Marie sings ‘like an aeroplane’ and you could hear the fan/propeller type of noise. What a genius. I love the backing vocals of Marie in 2nd stanza. Not to forget that the ending vocals of Marie sound like the inspiration for starting vocals of Wish I could fly. I love the guitar too. The live version is awesome too.

  • RobS

    A fave of mine from Tourism – which was my first Rox album, that cassette must’ve been played 1000 times. An absolute gem of a song, love the lyrics and Marie’s vocal. But the music is what gets me everytime, the haunting piano, the synth adding an almost angelic vibe and the guitar that cuts through all that.
    And the live version, wow! Just sublime, Marie kicking it out of the park again!
    Has anyone listened to Rox songs with the vocals cut? Some nice backing tracks, and esp some backing vocals that come through. The Rain is quite nice.

  • Rixsob

    I agree. The Rain is an absolute classic. As much as a victim of injustice as What’s She Like? I also agree that Travelling has a horrible album cover. Problably the worst covers in music history? Unforgivable. It’s too literal and ugly. Argh! But the album is good.

    • Stevo Petkovic

      Sadly I agree with you

    • s1974x

      Awl come on, the cover isn’t that bad. I mean look at Have a Nice Day; not only is the design terrible it looks like a complete amateur put it together.

  • Tavo

    I love “The Rain”. My friends who are not Rox fans also love it. I agree with every single word you mentioned (you’re actually getting better and better every day as a writer!). I also thought this could have been a single. The first time I heard it was through a home-made tape of the album that a friend who had bought it gave me. I fell in love with song immediately! The bad thing is that the recording was incomplete so I couldn’t hear the whole song that day so that’s why I rushed to the nearest music shop and got myself a copy of the album. (This was my second Rox album, the first one being Joyride and I hadn’t bought Look Sharp! yet. I was only 11 years old). Regarding the single choice, I think they wanted to release QOR instead because it had already been left out of Joyride and many people loved it. Besides, I think it would have been awkward to release to songs about “rain” in a row, don’t you think? // Regarding “Travelling” artwork, I think it matches its content perfectly: a crappy cover to a crappy album. 😉

    • Stevo Petkovic

      Ha, great comment!

  • Robert Quinteros

    It was the first song that I fell completely in love at first listening. I agree with you in every sense… Its a shame that was not released.

  • BVerfG

    We talked about this, dammit! 😛 The rain doesn’t hold a candle to 12/16 songs on Tourism!^^ But while we’re talking about it, I think “The Rain” and “Queen of Rain” are about the same quality. I love the “so softly” whispering in “The Rain” and the lyrics are really good, I’ll admit to that, but so are the lyrics of “Queen of Rain” “all I knew…your eyes so velvet blue. I’ve been in love before, how about you?” If that’s not just beautiful, I dunno what is. Still I think they’re both okay, but not that great, especially when compared to other Roxette ballads like “Spending my time” or “Listen to your heart”.

    • Stevo Petkovic

      Yes, beautiful lyrics in both songs for sure!!

  • Ela

    Yes! This time I agree! I also love “The rain”. They should have played it at the Stockholm concert this year! 😉

    • Stevo Petkovic

      Maybe we’ll hear it live again one day!

  • Bellenger1981 .

    I actually agree with the article that “The Rain” should have been the second single instead of “Queen of Rain”. Although I enjoy “Queen of Rain”, I think that “The Rain” is better single material and a better song. I love it! “I did my crying out in the pouring rain” remains one of my favorite lyrics.

    • Stevo Petkovic

      It’s a heart wrenching line for sure 🙂

    • Krischan76

      Never, never will I understand why a mediocre at best Queen Of Rain was chosen over this song. The Rain is just superb!

      • Bellenger1981 .

        Well, no doubt “Queen of Rain” is a favorite of Per. After all, he’s even performed his own version of it live. I imagine that Per had a say in it being a single.

  • URCogProf

    When I first heard that “Queen of Rain” was chosen as the second single from “Tourism”, I honestly thought it was a mistake and whoever told me meant to say it was “The Rain”! Such an obvious single, perfect for radio. And the proof? Madonna’s similar sounding song, with a similar title, released the same year, became a single (and top 10 here in Canada) from her “Erotica” album. I remember thinking she’d ripped it off from Per! And thinking what a missed opportunity for Rox to have a North American hit. Tragedy indeed!

  • One of my favourites.

  • roxon!

    When I wrote some days ago about Tourism being the BEST Roxette Album ever, even over Joyride, this is what I meant. When you pair your best 12 songs from Joyride (not counting IRY and TSH,TSG, I would get rid of KOED and BT), Tourism is a notch above. Personally, it contains the 2 Best Ever ROX songs: #2 The Heart Shaped Sea, and of course #1 The Rain.

  • Daniela

    In my opinion, Tourism is not as strong as Look Sharp, Joyride, Crash Boom Bang and Have a nice day, for example, but like Travelling it was an album which was mainly recorded on tour without great expectations for success. Even though not all songs are strong, there were some very good Songs on it which in my opinion could have had a lot of success as singles, for example Come back before you leave and Keep me waiting. On bad days, I also love Here comes the weekend and So far away a lot. The Rain is a very good album track, I think, but I wouldn’t have chosen it as a single (Queen of Rain and Fingertips neither).

  • DavidRox

    This has always been my favorite Roxette song. It’s simple and yet has this haunting beauty to it that I could listen to it over and over again. I love Queen of Rain as well but I think The Rain would have had tremendous staying power had it been released as a single.

  • s1974x

    This is one of the best songs from Tourism, and one of their best ballads ever. I think it is a far better song than Queen of Rain.




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