It's a track on Madness's latest album The Liberty of Norton Folgate. I am unsure whether I have reviewed any of their songs on that album before on here...when I first got around to listening to the majority of it in May 2009, I'd noted which songs were good in general and which ones were just okay.
I'd noted in that post that 'Rainbows' was one of the good ones and "uplifting and inspiring." The whole album is pretty good, actually, and after two years now of the album having been released, I know a bit more about it than I did then. For one thing, I probably shouldn't have said then that some of the songs were as bad as they were (to me in an uninteresting or unappealing kind of way, not a performance kind of way). They aren't bad at all, just not as appealing to me musically. The 'unfamiliar vocals' of 'On the Town' that I'd noted I didn't like came from Rhoda Dakar, a guest vocalist that I believe came from the Bodysnatchers (this is based on memory and I haven't checked it on Wikipedia, mind you). All the songs have special meaning to them.
'Rainbows,' though, to me, stands out. Because the lyrics in the build-up to the chorus begin with "I think today is gonna be my birthday" I have a tradition of listening to this song on my actual birthday. I intend on listening to it today at 11am, and I'm writing this review of it, actually, because today is my birthday.
It's one of those very eager and optimistic songs about taking things in stride and living like the day is your last. Predictably it's in D most of the time.
The verse have this sound to them that makes you think it's the beginning and expectancy of something good coming your way - like the sunny, bright morning before the eventful and unforgettable afternoon. There are no drums - just a constant hi-hat - and a keyboard that fuels this expectancy and early-sunny-morning image. And a bass playing a D note.
Then there's this (also expectant, but almost there) build-up to the chorus, with a dramatic bass drum added in. The bass goes higher. Suggs goes "I think today..."
The chorus is the highlight. What got me was the way the bass starts on F and then comes up to C going A-A#-B-C. Or that's what got me at first anyway. The piano was also great - it made me think of time going by, but good time. The drums are a constant snare beat.
The whole song goes on in this vain - expectant or morning-like verses, chorus build-up, then chorus. There's a bridge that's essentially a piano solo, which is very nice, then back to the build-up.
The lyrics are nothing short of awesome, particularly the ones during the chorus. They help the inspiration and optimism - "I'm sliding down raindows. Out into the wild, uncultivated child. I'm taking in the sideshow, where angels heaven-sent prepare us for the main event."
Unless there are any hidden meanings I haven't clued into, it appears to be about taking everything and going out with nothing to lose, nothing to gain, just to experience the best day ever as optimistically as possible.
That, and the lyrics, are why I listen to it particularly every June 22nd. I listen to it at other times as well, but not usually. The line 'uncultivated child' makes me think of someone who was brought up untroubled by the impurities of living in a man-made concrete jungle of cities and instead was raised in the natural world, making him/her seem younger and less aged. Eternal youth perhaps.
It has the sense of making the listener feel good listening to it.
I give it an A.
Good lyrics, great positive music, and perfect for listening to on my birthday.