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Song of the Moment: Rainy Days and Mondays

Like the public at large, I'm sure a few of my Beachwood Reporter colleagues are probably thinking of glaringly obvious rain songs that would qualify for Song of the Moment. You know, everything from The Doors' "Riders On The Storm" to Led Zeppelin's "The Rain Song" to B.J. Thomas' "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" or Gordon Lightfoot's "Rainy Day People."

Not that there's anything wrong with those songs at The Moment. When your next two days are going to be spent lugging every waterlogged possession - not to mention about 500 square yards of cheap-ass carpeting - from your basement to the curb, you don't have a lot of time ponder what might be music's perfect rain song.

Fortunately, I spent this weekend high and dry, so I had more than 15 minutes to ponder this musical question. Initially, I thought of The Temptations' "I Wish It Would Rain," Stevie Ray Vaughn's "Texas Flood," and Brook Benton's "Rainy Night in Georgia." Only problem was, a song wishing it would rain even more seems outrageous unless there's a drought, I couldn't give a shit less about what happens in Texas, and nobody in Georgia with a guitar has hitched a ride on a boxcar since The Great Depression.

It was rainy. It's Monday. So it's not that much of a stretch that my Song Of The Moment is "Rainy Days and Mondays" by The Carpenters.

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Released: 1971

Format: 7" single

Charts: Reached #2 on the "Billboard Hot 100" chart

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From Wikipedia: The song was composed in 1971 by then fairly-unheard-of composers Roger Nichols and Paul Williams. It failed to chart in the United Kingdom until it went to #63 in a reissue there in 1993.

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From Songfacts: The 5th Dimension passed on this song, but The Carpenters picked it up, giving them their second hit written by Williams and Nichols, who also wrote "We've Only Just Begun."

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Commentary: Sure, pianist Richard Carpenter and his singer/drummer sister Karen were at the top of the 1970s' white-bread pop music act heap. If, like me, you were a teenager at the time and your musical world revolved around bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Alice Cooper, The Carpenters were indeed radio poison. But if a popular actor like Mike Myers can make a point of injecting a Carpenters hit ("Superstar") into one of his Wayne's World movies 25 years after it got major-league radio airplay, maybe it's time for some of us - even if it's even more of a guilty pleasure than listening to, say, Ace of Base - to discover why it's such a fucking sin that Karen Carpenter's voice is no longer around thanks to the ravages of anorexia nervosa. Speaking as a onetime suicidal, I've yet to find anyone else in popular music whose voice could make a song like "Rainy Days and Mondays" make you consider for a second at least whether it might be an okay idea to put off for a day or so tonight's plan to sit down on the nearest train track and wait on the Double E.

Simply, "Rainy Days and Mondays" embodies - both in the musical score and Karen Carpenter's voice - what makes rainy days so comforting to those feeling morose and unloved (even when they might have one person who at least likes them a whole lot), and yet suck huge time for everyone else who isn't. It's the difference between a pissed-off, rain- or snow-soaked rush hour backed up for three hours on the Edens Expressway and a comfortable day curled up on the couch under the covers with a half-gallon of Haagen-Dazs, a spoon, and a six-hour block of Andy Griffith reruns. But yet, the song's killer, soaring sax solo (which seems out of place amid the dreary overtones, but still works nonetheless since it preludes the gut-wreching crescendo of hopefulness immediately afterward) can make you feel like tomorrow could be a better day, no matter whether you're convinced nobody you ever meet during the rest of your lifetime will ever want to date you or you're just looking at boxes of your shit that can never be replaced piled up on the curb waiting to be carted off to the landfill.

Thus is the true magic of the voice once known as Karen Carpenter. I can't help but think that Ozzie and Alice - as much as I still love their music of my teenage years today - wish they could have an ounce of that.

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Lyrics:

Talkin' to myself and feeling old
Sometimes I'd like to quit, nothin' ever seems to fit
Hangin' around, nothin' to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

What I've got they used to call the blues
Nothin's ever really wrong, feeling like I don't belong
Walkin' around, some kind of lonely clown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

Funny, but it seems I always end up here with you
Nice to know somebody loves me
Funny, but it seems that it's the only thing to do
Run and find the one who loves me

What I feel has come and gone before
No need to talk it out, we know what its all about
Hangin' around, nothin' to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

Funny but it seems that its the only thing to do
Run and find the one who loves me

What I feel has come and gone before
No need to talk it out, we know what its all about
Hangin' around, nothin' to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down
Hangin' around, nothin' to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

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Used To Be Called The Blues:

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Previously in Song of the Moment:
* Iron Man
* The Story of Bo Diddley
* Teach Your Children
* Dream Vacation
* When The Levee Breaks
* I Kissed A Girl
* Theme From Shaft
* Rocky Mountain High
* North to Alaska
* Barracuda



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Posted on September 15, 2008


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BOOKS - The Randomness Of Harvard Admissions.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Public Lands Matter.


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