Worst Songs Ever: Blind Melon’s ‘No Rain’

Like a good single, a terrible one reveals itself after airplay and forbearance. I don’t want to hate songs; to do so would shake ever-sensitive follicles, and styling gel is expensive. I promise my readers that my list will when possible eschew obvious selections. Songs beloved by colleagues and songs to which I’m supposed to genuflect will get my full hurricane-force winds, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t take shots at a jukebox hero overplayed when I was at a college bar drinking a cranberry vodka in a plastic thimble-sized cup.

Blind Melon – “No Rain”
PEAK CHART POSITION: #1 on Modern Rock Chart, September 1993; #20 in October 1993.

As much – as strenuously in spots – as I try to expound on the flaws of these songs I despise, I occasionally bump into a “No Rain,” for which no explanation is reasonable. Every note is objectionable, every lyric an incitement. But I started this post minutes before Anthony Kennedy delivered in person his statement announcing his retirement from the Supreme Court, after which I listened to “No Rain” in my office, alone, again and understood its adherence to a stoner’s concentration on the snail slime on the wall. Focusing on ephemeral shit is a way of tuning out.

Maybe that’s what made “No Rain” such a massive MTV hit in late ’93 and early ’94. Its embrace of imbecility would not have alarmed the character in Edie Brickell and New Bohemians’ “What I Am” half a decade earlier, and in the case of “No Rain” the gap between character and singer seems, ah, narrower than in the 1989 hit. But the video put the song over: the one with the girl in the bee costume and the band dressed disgracefully like the hippies of John Mitchell’s wettest dreams while playing in a field of long grass.

Over strummed acoustic chords that fans of America’s “A Horse with No Name” would have adored, singer Shannon Hoon embraces a pantheism that would not have made D. Boon of the Minutemen recoil but is far more traditional. Before this day and hour “all I can do is just pour some tea for two/And speak my point of view but it’s not sane” reads as rank post-post-hippie bullshit. On one level it still is. “All I can do”? Protest, motherfucker. Stakes was high, to quote De La Soul, in 1992-1993, as much as they are now. What matters musically is a song tough enough to support the self-absorption or, failing this, defending the speaking of a point of view by, you know, delineating the point of view worth defending.

As those pretty melodies chime, it’s hard to know what Blind Melon stand for. The we’re-just-flower-kids-bro point of view made Hoon’s band an irritation at the time. While I can’t blame Blind Melon for what they couldn’t predict — the 1994 GOP takeover, Bill Clintons fan dance with the right, the horrors of the last nine years — I blame them for espousing a detachment that no one who has a life on the line in the American system would take for granted, and at the same time sounding fucking dull while doing so.

4 thoughts on “Worst Songs Ever: Blind Melon’s ‘No Rain’

  1. morrisp

    Considering that Clinton put both RBG & Breyer on the bench, your customary jab at him rings a bit hollow, today of all days. But, respect.

  2. timwburke

    Dude, Shannon Hoon was a drug addict who OD’d. He needed all of his will to get out of bed in the morning, never mind being some political firebrand.. And there was plenty of detachment to go around way before the ’90s.

  3. Jaci Handley

    I’m like..two years late. But..sometimes it’s okay to just enjoy the lyrics and basic guitar chords that are overly repetitive. You don’t always have to look into the lyrics and their correlation with the band’s front. Chill, just listen. And leave Don Henley alone.


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