The Heart Is a Lonely Ian Hunter
What else might come to mind at the beginning of what's supposed to be (and sure is feeling like) a classic Southern California "it doesn't rain but it pours" six day soak? Still it takes more than a good rain to wash away the pull of this miraculously morose little gem that far too many people don't know (yes, that old theme again). If nothing else this still has one of the best two-line openers of all time: "Vinny says this town is dying/it's dying to be just like me" is cleverer than most pop has the right to be, a twist that helps the pessimism go down. For all the loser-filled angst in the lyrics, the song is so god-awful pretty, those little arpeggiated bits floating down, trying to wash something clean, or at the least say early '80s keybs with the a nostalgic, velvety vengeance. Sometimes rain isn't just rain you know. Or at least Ian Hunter knows--as his favorite theme, and how fitting for one who never quite made it as big as he would seem he should and is now mostly a relic, is being someone someday.
As for "Rain," it was just one part of the deluge that was Ian Hunter's run as my pity-popster of choice. Teenage me first gravitated to Jackson Browne and all that worry over being a pretender and not a contender; college-aged me found Hunter, and while I also loved his rocking side (Drew Carey, I want "Cleveland Rocks" back) and his close to Roxy Mott glamorousness (Mott and All the Young Dudes is a heck of a one-two punch), well, even on Mott I might like best the way the album grandly winds down with "The Ballad of Mott the Hoople" and the song that made me first love mandolin (I didn't come to it via my own country, no sir) "I Wish I Was Your Mother," a reinvention of the love song that's achingly tender. Who doesn't need a lesson in non-obvious tender?
For then there's this, too, that makes me forgive the sold soul sax of David Sanborn, makes me think there was value to Queen (that's that background bombast), that's so much that you could fill a vat of all the vinyl I've ever owned with it. We once called them records.
Totally overdone. And I'll take two, please.