Top 40 single reviews

Only Happy When It Rains
Album: Garbage
Year: 1995

Shirley Manson revels in her misery in the tart "Only Happy When It Rains."

Intense guitars open the single, setting a flippant tone. In the first verse, she says she thrives on hearing the pouring rain falling down onto the pavement. She likes when things become tangled and messy. People give her weird looks when she says how much she likes the darkness. When she watches the news and hears of the multiple murders, world invasions and famine, she's satisfied. When she's depressed, she's content.

"I'm only happy when it rains/I'm only happy when it's complicated/And though I know you can't appreciate it/I'm only happy when it rains/You know I love it when the news is bad/And why it feels so good to feel so sad/I'm only happy when it rains."



In the chorus, she invites her friend to dish all her complaints about life and wallow. It helps Manson to feel better and have someone to relate to.

"Pour your misery down, pour your misery down on me/Pour your misery down, pour your misery down on me."



In the second verse, she says she expects bad days. They feel honest to her. Cynical and heartbreaking music is what she listens to. It reflects her pessimistic world view. She enjoys the nighttime.

"I'm only happy when it rains/I feel good when things are going wrong/I only listen to the sad, sad songs/I'm only happy when it rains."



After a blissful guitar solo, the second verse continues.

She enjoys the nighttime. Seeing the fake, gleeful sun shining put on its huge show is irksome. The nighttime's shadowy, vampiric ways is a true representation of life. She says she didn't say it to shock the person. She really means it. She says it will sink in for the person once she digs into her friend's faults.

"I only smile in the dark/My only comfort is the night gone black/I didn't accidentally tell you that/I'm only happy when it rains/You'll get the message by the time I'm through/When I complain about me and you/I'm only happy when it rains."



The chorus is repeated three times plus one extra "pour your misery down."

In the bridge, Manson tells her friend she can stay around. However, she has to be apathetic to the world, too.

"You can keep me company/As long as you don't care."



In the third verse, she says she can't stop thinking about her depression. It brings her joy and has never let her down.

"I'm only happy when it rains/You wanna hear about my new obsession?/I'mriding high upon a deep depression/I'm only happy when it rains/Pour some misery down on me."



In the final chorus, she repeats the last two lyrics of the previous verse.

"I'm only happy when it rains/Pour some misery down on me/I'm only happy when it rains/Pour some misery down on me/I'm only happy when it rains/Pour some misery down on me/I'm only happy when it rains/Pour some misery down on me."



Manson has become accustomed to her depression. She has lived with it for so long, it feels normal. Happiness is an illusion. However, the sadness is real. Her tears and numbness remind her that she's human. The further she withdraws into herself, the less she has to deal with the outside world. The days blur into the other. The rain and the night are relieving sights. For once, she doesn't have to witness the cheeriness people feel. It mocks her. In the night, it's frightened away the perky people and they are hidden.

Manson's conversational vocals are disarming. She's forthright about her love of her mental illness. But at the end, she hints that it may be a cry for help. It has truly taken over and frozen her. She wants out. Saying she likes it is a way of rationalizing it.

The percussion and the guitars contrast each other. The percussion is bright and poppy, which is how she wants to present herself to others. Meanwhile the guitars are restless and ferocious. It's to show her inner turmoil.

The clever "Only Happy When It Rains" puts irony to great use.

For price, tracklisting and other album information please visit Amazon.com.

 


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