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VCV: Paul McCartney – “Too Much Rain”

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The great dramas, novels, poems, and songs are filled with tales of struggle and human suffering and there isn’t a metaphor that hasn’t been used to document and describe them.  I don’t know what the most popular device is but my brain seizes trying to count the number of times tears are likened to rain or hardships are compared to storms on my iPod alone.

Paul McCartney uses that particular vehicle for “Too Much Rain” but, as is the key with the great writers, he does something just a little different with it.  McCartney discussed this song not just being about someone going through a hard time but someone who is under siege.  The man who’d once written “take a sad song and make it better” had lived long enough and seen and experienced enough to realize sometimes it’s not just rain, it’s too much rain.  A light went off in my head because we all know people in our life who seem to have had every conceivable thing go wrong all at one time.  Maybe we’ve even been that person at one point. 

The real life storms rarely come with weathermen or satellite imagery and the only way you know when it will pass is when it finally does.  Uncertainty saps your strength and you wonder how you’ll survive when you don’t know how long you can withstand those wind gusts or how much more water you can take on.  You start to wonder if you’ll survive.  You reach a point survival becomes not the goal but one more burden because it means cleaning up the wreckage and starting anew.  

I’m writing this today because of a conversation I had with a friend last night.  They’ve been watching the water rise and the downpour doesn’t look like it’s going to let up.  I didn’t have any words of my own so I offered her up this song.  Words aren’t umbrellas and some storms are too strong for them but in my own life I’ve learned nothing feels quite as comforting as knowing you have friends holding one for you.

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About Josh Hathaway

  • Liz

    This is one of my favorite McCartney songs — period. Beautifully sung and written. I’ve heard so many people say Paul hasn’t written anything as good as his Beatles songs but I think those critics have just refused to give his solo work a chance.

    Two other recent songs of his that I love: Friends to Go and You Tell Me.

  • Very good choice. I like.

    As for satellite imagery for personal storms? Thank God!

  • suzahn fiering

    Not only is he describing the situation, but he is acknowledging the crisis, perhaps agreeing with the person in crisis as if to say, “I hear ya man”. He also gently advises this person to try their best to smile through it, almost hide their feelings as a way of getting through it. So maybe there is some exasperation on the writer’s part as well. If one has lived or spent time in the UK for any length of time, particularly in Liverpool, they would take notice of how, as an effect of culture, they try to keep their chins up. I think it is in part to their parents and/or grand parents living through the blitz in the 2nd world war. One would be hard pressed to find more salt-of-the-earth, friendly folks than the Liverpudlians. And Paul McCartney will always be one.