Step back and watch the sweet thing breaking everything she sees
She can take my darkest feeling tear it up ‘til I'm on my knees
Plug into her electric cool
Where things bend and break and shake to the rule
Talking fast couldn't tell me something, I would shed my skin for you -
talking fast on the edge of nothing, I would break my back for you
Don't know why, don't know why,
Things vaporize and rise to the sky…
And we tried so hard,
And we looked so good
And we lived our lives in black
But something about you felt like pain
You were my sunny day rain
You were the clouds in the sky
You were the darkest sky
But your lips spoke gold and honey
That's why I'm happy when it rains
I'm happy when it pours
Looking at me enjoying something
That feels like feels like pain to my brain.
And if I tell you something, you take me back to nothing
I'm on the edge of something, you take me back
And I'm happy when it rains
And I'm happy now
And I'm happy when it rains.
lyrics : William and Jim Reid, Jesus and Mary Chain: 1987 from Darklands.
‘Happy When It Rains’, clearly, is not the ‘toughest’ song on the follow-up album to Psychocandy in 1985 (that would be track 7 : ‘Fall’, ‘…everybody’s fallin’ on me / I’m as dead as Xmas tree…’), nor is it the bitterest (that would be track 2 : ‘Deep One Perfect Morning’, ‘…I sit here warming to the coldness of things that meet my eye…’). Rather, it’s a pricelessly clear snapshot of the Reid Brothers’ pursuit of the perfect bad mood, one which managed to maintain them through six full lenghth albums, over the course of nearly 14 years, until they disbanded in 1999.
'We lived our lives in black' - what was nice about the Mary Chain was they never took their own nihilism to a shrill level. As a whole, they were generally grim, but never dire. It is also rare music that sounds as good with a hangover as it did at the party the night before. This particular song's miserablism, for example, works better than the jangly, over-long title track. The word rain is mentioned fifteen times over the course of the 36m album – so the overarching ethos is pretty much battered in your head – and unlike the surf-distortion of Psychocandy, you can actually make out most of the lyrics. The summer it was released, of course, the top selling album in North America was the Dirty Dancing soundtrack and being in junior high at the time, I can assert this and New Order's Substance kept myself and several of my friends from snapping like dry twigs.
Darklands also marks the band’s first experimentation with a detectable country music undercurrent, though this wouldn’t move to the forefront again until Hope Sandoval came on-board (from Mazzy Star) for 1994’s Stoned and Dethroned. Jim Reid is an avowed fan of Hank Williams and Lee Hazelwood, so their predilection for twang-guitars and string-guitars over broken heart lyrics, particularly on later singles, makes a degree of sense. This was a little discomforting, especially after the wall of noise approach we as young punks were used to from the preceeding album. Over time, however, it made for great road music; and I vaguely recall dragging a Rick Astley CD-single, tied to the back bumper of my friend's car for a good 30km, singing along to Darklands in the autumn afternoon.