Friday, June 25, 2004

Songs of the 1990s # 4. 

November Rain
Guns'n Roses, 1991

This song is a tour de force, a knockout blow to people who thought they could write a great rock song, or any great song. Even a great poem. Or a great piece of writing full stop.

When I look into your eyes
I can see a love restrained
But darlin' when I hold you
Don't you know I feel the same
'Cause nothin' lasts forever
And we both know hearts can change
And it's hard to hold a candle
In the cold November rain.

It's an odd fit in some ways. Weren't Guns'n Roses a hard rock or heavy metal band or something? It just shows something very, very good can break through typecasting.

The song is, of course, as much a symphony as a song, complete with sections.

The guitar soars over everything, as usual, and the notes eventually shatter off into shards of electricity like some modern version of a rococo fugue or cantata. In fact, I have often wanted to hear this song performed on one of these babies.

In some ways the raspy vocals and the lead guitar seem to swap roles, in a similar manner to Sweet Child o'Mine.

So if you want to love me
then darlin' don't refrain
Or I'll just end up walkin'
In the cold November rain
Do you need some time...on your own
Do you need some time...all alone
Everybody needs some time...on their own
Don't you know you need some time...all alone.

And when your fears subside
And shadows still remain
I know that you can love me
When there's no one left to blame
So never mind the darkness
We still can find a way
'Cause nothin' lasts forever
Even cold November rain

Then the chanting starts, a haunting outro sounding eerily like an orchestra string section.

Don't ya think that you need somebody
Don't ya think that you need someone
Don't ya think that you need somebody
Don't ya think that you need someone
Everybody needs somebody
You're not the only one
You're not the only one.

Still sends a shiver down my spine.

I had a bad dose of November rain myself back in '91 ...

It's a long time ago now.

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

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