Revolution In The Rain

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
Step out of line, the men come and take you away

We better stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look, what’s going down?


© Stephen Stills, ‘For What Its Worth‘, (Buffalo Springfield) 1966


With the exception of This Time (which was a collaborative effort on a BASCA songwriting weekend a few years ago, recorded for the London Road album), I’ve never really been one for protest songs. And, to be honest, This Time was a little bit cheeky in that it was peppered deliberately with buzzwords and was slightly facetious as it wasn’t really coming from the typical protest song angle that it may have initially have seemed to… it was more taking the piss out of a certain type of middle class protester who values being seen protesting a subject for just long enough on the right channels without fully understanding what kinds of sacrifices, what kinds of impacts that the thing they’re protesting about is likely to have on the rest of the society that they’re part of – and ultimately, it will be their kids or the children of their peers who will be left to clear up the crap, to coin a phrase which is something I believe a lot of them to be ignorant of. As usual, no names, no pack drill. I think we could all call to mind a certain group of protestors, regardless of our political leanings who we may see as being less than sincere in their endeavours…

In other words, what certain people may term as virtue signallers. And to that end, it did what it needed to pretty well.

Revolution In The Rain though, is somewhat different and despite it coming to me in the same way as the other two tracks from the Mondegreen EP, is arguably very much driven by the global events of the last twelve to eighteen months. The vision was quite sixties/Beatles/Byrds/Thunderclap Newman but with a lead vocal melody that sounded for all the world like a mature Steve Hogarth, a vocalist that I have admired for many, many years and who is significantly more political, especially in his more recent years, although I see things somewhat different to he does.

So there is almost an original sixties “counter-culture” protest feel to it (very different to the modern day ‘Cancel Culture’, which I frankly despise), and it is very different to anything I’ve written before.

And, as alluded to before in the case of Hate, the only part of it that I got sent was the vocal hook; there is no chorus as such, just a repeating three or four line motif that just repeats over and over again and is broken up by a Middle 8 – so it has an A-A-B-A type format.

The lyrics themselves were not difficult to write and the vocal hook for the song came with it anyway – but a Revolution In The Rain is a quintessentially English thing, so it strikes me, that in a nation as wet and windy and rainy as the UK, if such a thing is ever to happen, it will need to happen when the weather is not exactly on their side. A little like a personification of Roger Waters’ quite brilliant ‘hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way’ line from ‘Time’, way back in 1973. The British do not have the somewhat more fiery approach of the French or indeed the Spanish and seem to have the longest fuse of pretty much any nation on earth as to how much antagonising or provocation they will endure before they snap. So, if any such thing is to happen in the UK (and for the record, because of the nature of how the English are in particular, I do not see it happening in my lifetime), it is likely to be somewhat different to other such events that we may have seen around the globe over the last 100 years.

I have tried as hard as I could to be non partisan about it, but with all protest songs there has to be something that the writer is railing against, in order to make their point and this is no exception. The last great truly musically productive era in British music, one that spawned a level of protest music that spoke to a generation was punk (and the subsequent lead up to Thatcherism) in the late 1970s/early 1980s. There hasnt really been anything since then that has truly caught the imagination in the same way not just the UK, but worldwide, despite the things that have occurred in the last 25 years, let alone 35 – things like the advance of globalism, 9/11, the Financial crisis of 2008, the Arab Spring and many other worldwide events. It is as if the music industry has largely decided to be very selective about what types of writers and performers that it espouses in terms of social commentary; Theres not much of a machine for the RATM boys to rage against any more; Mr Bragg is mostly in retirement in a very nice cliff-side Dorset des res; Mr Dylan has sold off his publishing rights to his back catalogue for multi-millions and even Mr Weller has long since ceased being a strident advocate of a particular political doctrine that he made his reputation as a writer on.

And, without being deliberately provocative: these times that we find ourselves in are probably the most polarised that I and no doubt many others have every known; this is something where I do finally for once in my life, not just as a songwriter but also as a man, have to stick a flag in the ground and say “this subject really genuinely bothers me”, which it absolutely does; but not for the same reason that it bothers other people who are close to me.

Whether this is a line that it is possible for a songwriter to attempt to straddle in this day and age of cancellation, or whether I can even get away with what the song is clearly drawing parallels with – lines like “less than a hundred years since ‘Never again'” and the references to book burning are pretty explicit about the historical events they are referring to and those lines were deliberately written to be unequivocal about that. Whether others may see it the same way or not, I do not know. My intention, as ever, is not to be preachy about it, but to say what I feel about something that bothers me a lot, as someone who has spent most of his time as a songwriter writing more about love, loss, healing and abandonment than anger. But, in the words of a certain John Lydon Esq “Anger Is An Energy” and it has its place in the spectrum of human emotions.

My collaborators before me, particularly my very good friend Robert Pearce have been able to write this type of material before and do it very effectively… for me though, its a new thing and I don’t expect to be making a habit of it. As I say, I’m not advocating openly for any particular change apart from that which people want to be for themselves, which I always have espoused; be the change you yourself wish to be, you can change no more than that. And maybe, if we all change to be all that we can be, maybe we will be less easily led by those who clearly do not practise the kind of altruism that they claim to on our behalf.

Revolution In The Rain is to be part of the Mondegreen EP and will be finished later this year.


Revolution In The Rain

{V1}
When you dont know who to believe any more
And you’re wondering just what its all for
All you see around you is your world in pain

When your faces can be held to the floor
For having the nerve to step outside your door
And your world will never be the same again
Waiting for a revolution in the rain

{V2}
When those you followed left and turned off all the lights
And left you in the dark with no end in sight
And all your streets are in drenched fear and broken glass night after night
You wonder when you’ll see your friends again.
Isolation, libation, frustration, negation,
Watching for the revolution in the rain

{Middle 8}
Take another drink
Push it all to the back of your mind
Every time you do, for all the good it could do,
It all seems just a little further behind
No one knows how long it will last
Til we’ve all been made to forget our pasts
A new take on all your childrens dreams
And you learn that Build Back Better aint all that it seems

{V3}
When all the memories of you are swept out of the door
And your body is not your own any more
Less than a hundred years since “Never Again”

You can be just another name in a book thats been burned
Or you can be one that makes your voice heard
Deny the lies that have turned the world around you insane
Be your own revolution in the rain

Never let them do this to you again

Dont let them reduce you to this again

Lead your own revolution in the rain


{Ad lib to fade}



© Words and Music, Steven McCarthy-Hunt 2021

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