Usually, I keep my music set on “shuffle” when it plays from the USB drive in my Chevy Malibu. But today…I had a “craving” for a particular song and just HAD to hear it – and that song was Dry the Rain by the Scottish group The Beta Band. I first became aware of this song’s existence while watching the 2000 movie High Fidelity, which starred John Cusack and was based upon a Nick Hornby novel (other Hornby novels adapted into films include About a Boy and Fever Pitch). We’ve had trivia questions about Nick Hornby before, and I recently brainfarted trying to remember Fever Pitch (oh the humanity)! It was so frustrating, I knew the “American” remake had Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon in it, and he was a fervent baseball fan, but it just didn’t “click” with the other trivia players (come on guys – don’t you know it’s your job to pry these useless knowledge nuggets from my brain – what is this – amateur hour)? 🙂
John Cusack could teach AP classes in brooding!
High Fidelity‘s plot centers around a group of guys working in a record store, in particular, the past romances of Cusack’s character named Rob Gordon. He goes on a “quest” to find out what went wrong with all of his past romantic relationships by visiting EVERY SINGLE ONE of his ex girlfriends. I know, I know, that does sound kind of “stalkerish,” doesn’t it? I certainly wouldn’t want any of those creepy guys who had obsessions with me in high school knocking on my door now (no THANK you)! Like that guy leaving a note in my locker, and then called me up asking me to the homecoming dance (ugh those people who say they want to go back to being in high school again are just…delusional)! Moving on!
As a side note, High Fidelity is widely considered to have helped launch actor Jack Black to stardom, in what has been described as his “breakout” role.
The scene where a customer is trying to buy a Stevie Wonder record for his daughter absolutely cracked me up! Jack Black’s “Barry” character derides the customer’s musical tastes by asking indignantly – “Do you even KNOW your daughter?”
As for the song Dry the Rain, in High Fidelity, Rob Gordon (Cusack) claims he can sell five copies of The Beta Band’s 1998 compilation album The Three E.P.s just by playing it overhead in the record store. Perhaps movie viewers became virtual record store customers too? This movie was the reason I also fell in love with the song, and I wasn’t the only one, according to this article.
There’s just… “something” about the song. Nice guitar riffs, thoughtful lyrics, driving rhythms. The Wikipedia article states that the bands Radiohead and Oasis were fans of this band, which disbanded in 2004. Today, I had to listen to the song in its entirety before I came into the house – I reclined the seat, closed my eyes, tapped my hand in tempo…I let the song…take me.
Guitar players might appreciate hearing the “barre chords” in Dry The Rain (more about those in a bit).
If you’re a guitar player, this song is a good model for “barre chords,” which require a bit of “acrobatics” with your fingers! The index finger typically must be pressed against all or some of the strings while the other fingers form a standard chord formation. The trick is to get your hand to move up and down the fretboard while doing these finger acrobatics. It’s kind of like riding a bike – scary at first…you think it’s going to be impossible to stay balanced on the bike, but then bam…it’s easy. What’s not so easy is sitting “ladylike” while playing a guitar, as this photo demonstrates (chairs with arms are not ideal for playing a guitar):
Me at the Wheatland Music Festival in Remus, MI, 2009.
If you haven’t heard Dry The Rain yet, give it a listen! It’s definitely “timeless” enough to still be enjoyable today! Unlike those zip-off cargo pants and sun visor (Lord what was I thinking)? Aren’t messy ponytails in style now (hey wait five years and everything comes back in style, LOL)! 🙂