A Stormy Playlist

10 Songs for Before, During, and After the Summer Storms

by Jacob Adams

15 June 2011


The Weather Channel recently reported that the 2011 tornado numbers are 106 percent above average. And, of course, we’re only halfway through the year. So, if we are going to learn to grin and bear this enhanced, prolonged stormy activity, we need an equally stormy playlist to accompany the thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and whatever other maladies Mother Nature might throw our way during this summer season. Thus, I present my selections for such occasions, most effective when played in order accompanying the trek of the meteorological activity.

Bob Dylan - “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall”

Dylan’s idiosyncratic political prophesy about dangers to come perfectly encapsulates the mood upon hearing the tornado sirens go off, the warnings on the radio, or the distant rumble of prescient thunder (“I heard the sound of a thunder that roared out a warning”).

The Rolling Stones - “Gimme Shelter”

Now that you know the storm is coming, the next step is to seek shelter immediately. This classic Stones tracks depicts the menace of the coming chaos. The war (and the storm) are only a shot away. “Oh, a storm is threat’ning / My very life today / If I don’t get some shelter / Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away.”

Alison Krauss and Union Station - “No Place to Hide”

Heaven forbid no shelter is available. This Alison Krauss and Union Station song talks about how the speaker’s perception of storms has changed from when he was a younger man. What he used to perceive as innocent and pleasurable has now become dangerous. “I never thought to worry if the water rose too high / That all the seeds we planted would get washed out with the tide. / But now I am a man / And I need a place to hide.” Lesson: don’t play in the storm!

Thom Yorke - “And It Rained All Night”

The persistent, staccato groove bolstering this song sounds like the tapping of rain upon a window. The precipitation’s presence means the storm is near. “And it rained all night and then all day / The drops were the size of your hands and face… It’s relentless…”

DJ Krush - “Stormy Cloud”

Not long after the rain begins, the sky gets dark and the storm clouds appear. This schizophrenic DJ Krush track, with its minor-key synth pattern, shrill strings, and eerily melodic piano line, evokes the impending doom.

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