Thursday, October 23, 2008

Adjective Noun: Red Rain

Peter Gabriel: Red Rain


In general, we Starmakers tend not to post hit songs. I have never heard that it was a rule, but we tend to be drawn to artists and songs that are not as well known as, perhaps, they should be. But there are exceptions.

Peter Gabriel’s “Red Rain” went to #3 on the Billboard chart in 1987. The third single from the album So, it probably wouldn’t have done so well if it hadn’t followed “Sledgehammer” and “Big Time” up the charts.

To my ear, “Red Rain” does not sound like a hit, even in the 1980s. The song combines electronic textures with Gabriel’s growing interest in world music. The lyrics are enigmatic; look the song up on Wikipedia and you will find three different interpretations. The closest thing to a pop element is the fact that the song has a great groove.

On the other hand, try listening to some of the 80s biggest hits today. Stripped of their newness, many of these songs prove to be interchangeable and disposable. And you’re talking to someone who thinks the 1980s were one the greatest decades for pop music ever. “Red Rain” is another story, however. Whatever it may be about, it still sounds as fresh to me now as it did then.

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