I'll Call You Friend, Indeed

Didn't It Rain by Songs: Ohia

It was hard for me to want to listen to Didn't It Rain, mostly because I simply had no enthusiasm for trying to force myself to really get into the album if it didn't come naturally. Originally, after listening to the album one time through, I skipped ahead to Camera Obscura, which, though not easy for me to write about on the spot, was more successful.

As I lay in bed last night, unable to sleep, I tried once more to see why Didn't It Rain was so good to other people. I'll admit that this must be my sixth or seventh time going through it, and I'm barely prepared to talk about it. I'm not exactly a blues person; the closest I come to it is Billie Holiday, and that's nothing close to this album.

The album's opening track, "Didn't It Rain", is an 8 minute track that sets the heavy mood for the album, the heaviest lyrics in the song being "If they think you got it, they're going beat it out of you/with work and debt whatever all else there is". "Steve Albini's Blues" Molina finds himself "think[ing] about what's darkening my life". "Ring The Bell" and "Cross the Road, Molina", seem to be two songs of the same breath, the imagery from one bleeding into the other. The last three tracks are by far the strongest of the album. "Blue Factory Flame" opens with the lines, "When I die put my bones in an empty street to remind me of how it used to be". My favorite line in "Two Blue Lights" is "When the bells ring twelve times in hell they ring twelve times in this town as well". "Blue Chicago Moon" may very well be the most upbeat track on the entire album, the song ending with the line, "You are not helpless/I'll help you try to beat it".

The most appealing attribute of the album is the intimacy Molina's voice provides. Though the album has only seven tracks, it has a curious way of bending time, as the songs are generally defined by the swelling of sound and not the definitive end, allowing moods and images to flow from one song to the next.


Anonymous said...

wow I really liked "When the bells ring twelve times in hell they ring twelve times in this town as well".

that's so dark I love it

Anonymous said...

well more sad I guess

amda said...

I think it's pretty dark.

Songs: Ohia has a lot of dark imagery; Molina sings "every serpent's double tongue takes turns with your soul" in "Ring the Bell". He kind of feels like a precursor to Iron & Wine, darker, bluesy and more rural and less folksy. And I mean rural vs. folksy in the way that folksy is kind of quaint whereas rural is darker and more serious.