Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties: Clint Black, “Like the Rain”

“Like the Rain

Clint Black

Written by Clint Black and Hayden Nicholas

Billboard

#1 (3 weeks)

October 26 – November 9, 1996

Radio & Records

#1 (2 weeks)

October 18 – October 25, 1996

Clint Black gets a bit more creative with his production.

The Road to No. 1

After three No. 1 singles from One Emotion, Black went top five with the album’s final single, “Life Gets Away.”  He then previewed his first compilation, The Greatest Hits, with this chart-topping ballad.

The No. 1

What do you do when you’ve run out of good ideas for a song but you still need to send new material to radio?

You get creative with the production.  “Like the Rain” sounds nothing like the hits from his previous five albums, shaking off the Haggard-inspired traditionalism to experiment with a beefier sound.  The record opens with falling rain, setting the stage for the lyric which is no less pedestrian than his efforts that preceded it.

But at least it sounds interesting, and because it deviates from his well-worn template, it doesn’t immediately conjure up his brilliant earlier work and then suffer in comparison to it.

Still, the song is performed in a monotone throughout most of the track, with no discernable melody.  This draws attention to the awkwardness of the songwriting, with a particularly clunky transition in the chorus: “Like the rain I have fallen for you and now I now just why you like the rain, always calling for you, I’m falling for you now just like the rain.”

Look, when you’re essentially rewriting a minor Neal McCoy hit and you still can’t do better than that, then you better make the record sound interesting, I guess.

The Road From No. 1

“Half Way Up” was released next, and it went top ten.  Black then previewed his sixth studio album with “Still Holdin’ On,” a duet with Martina McBride that became his first official radio single to miss the Billboard top ten.  But he’d be back in business with the next two singles from that album.  We’ll cover the first one toward the end of 1997.

“Like the Rain” gets a C+.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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5 Comments

  1. You continue to dog great 90s songs that I love.

    While this isn’t my favorite Clint Black song, I would definitely put it in my top 10. It’s always a treat to hear this played on the local “90s country” station in my area. I go along humming this song the entire day after hearing it.

    But I love almost any CB song. He has an incredible voice and style that I just love. I’d give this one a grade of A-.

  2. I can see why someone wouldn’t dig it, but it’s always been my favorite Clint Black song. The melody doesn’t read monotonous to me at all. In fact, both this and “Half Way Up” are in Dorian mode, which is super rare in contemporary music.

    I actually remember seeing him perform it on TV with a bunch of people playing rain sticks to make the sounds.

  3. I can see why someone wouldn’t dig it, but it’s always been my favorite Clint Black song. The melody doesn’t read monotonous to me at all. In fact, both this and “Half Way Up” are in Dorian mode, which is super rare in contemporary music.

    I actually remember seeing him perform it on TV with a bunch of people playing rain sticks to make the sounds.

  4. I admit to having to search what “Dorian Mode” is thanks to Bobby’s post. I love all the things I have learned from this feature.

    I like this Black single because it marks a return to vocal passion and urgency for him. His reaches for the his higher vocal register flash like lightening through the rest of the song that rumbles along like a thunderstorm. I also like how it just fades to a gentle rain at the end. There is a cool dynamic to the songs production.

    What Kevin hears as clunkiness in the songwriting, I hear as Black’s unique tendency toward wordiness rather than a leaner style, a la an Alan Jackson. Black is as much a songwriting stylist as he is a vocal stylist.

    This single feels like Black is once again invested and trying with his music. I had my doubts there for a while. I am exceedingly grateful for that and am looking forward again to a return to greatness.

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