Our top ten songs about rain are all GORGEOUS. But what do they mean? What does the rain symbolise?

  • MUSIC FOCUS: Taylor Swift, Pale Waves, Paramore, Tove Lo, Kids In Glass Houses, Zoe Wees, Sigrid, Bring Me The Horizon, chloe moriondo.
  • ACTIVITY FOCUS: Exploring Fitzgerald’s use of rain in ‘The Great Gatsby’.

Typically, rain is used to signify sadness. Perhaps the raindrops symbolise tears as they do in our number 10 song…

10. Taylor Swift, ‘Forever & Always’

“It rains when you’re here and it rains when you’re gone”

Understanding the link between rain and upset helps to secure our sympathy for anyone who’s been left to handle those distressing weather conditions on their own…

9. Zoe Wees, Girls Like Us

“Left alone out in the rain”

And when there’s no sign of shelter, we feel even more distressed on behalf of the person in the rain. Their sadness is inescapable…

8. Pale Waves, ‘Reasons To Live

“I was standing in the rain; I had nowhere to go”

Perhaps, the rain that, in the songs listed so far, feels so inextricably linked to feelings of sadness could be interpreted differently. Hollywood directors have somehow invested the motif of rain with a magical, romantic quality. Which means, maybe, that Sigrid feels hopeful when the weather takes a turn for the worse…

7. Sigrid, ‘Strangers’

“Just like in the movies, it starts to rain”

Ultimately, though, the sadness only increases as a result when the rain turns out to be just rain after all. If you’re feeling mopey because a relationship’s not working, you can try dragging your partner into the rain for a kiss, but chances are it’s not going to change anything

6. chloe moriondo, ‘Favourite Band’

“Kissing in the rain and I feel nothing”

And our sadness transmutes into a feeling of utter hopelessness. We let the rain saturate us because what else can we do?

5. Bring Me The Horizon, ‘Doomed’

“So come rain on my parade ’cause I wanna feel it”

Although… hold on just one second… perhaps there’s hope after all. If only we can recognise the cathartic quality of the rain/tears…

4. Taylor Swift, ‘Clean’

“Rain came pouring down
When I was drowning, that’s when I could finally breathe”

And possibly even the universal experience of being rained on. We are connected by our experience of being human. The upset is hard to bear but it’s also a great equaliser. You’re not on your own, and everyone’s experience of the rain is a reminder of that…

3. Paramore, ‘When It Rains’

“And when it rains on this side of town
It touches everything”

Which means that, okay, yes, rain might remain typically symbolic of sadness, but – above and beyond that – it’s a reminder of our resilience. So what if – more often than not – the dreams we’re sold by the movies aren’t real. So what if we’re having a terrible time. Let’s make the most of what we’ve got…

2. Tove Lo, ‘2 Die 4’

“Drag you out at midnight to dance in headlights and making out in the rain”

Because, when it comes down to it, rain is just rain and we shouldn’t allow our lives to be dictated by what things might mean. Getting wet is a bit rubbish and so is being sad – but WE ARE NOT POWERLESS. So, let’s do as Kids In Glass Houses suggest…

1. Kids In Glass Houses, ‘Sunshine’

“Stop wishing for the sunshine
Start living in the rain”


Pick at least 3 ‘rain’ quotes from ‘The Great Gatsby’ and analyse the effect of that rain. Think about what the rain symbolises and what insight it gives us into a character’s character. Thread your analysis of the three separate quotes together in a way that allows you to draw a final conclusion about the motif’s significance.

  • Chapter 2: “The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic… dimmed a little by many paintless days, under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground.”
  • Chapter 5: “The day agreed upon was pouring rain.”
  • Chapter 5:  “One of the papers said they thought the rain would stop about four… The rain cooled about half-past three to a damp mist…”
  • Chapter 5: “The exhilarating ripple of her voice was a wild tonic in the rain.”
  • Chapter 5: “I pulled the door to against the increasing rain.”
  • Chapter 5: “It’s stopped raining.” “Has it?” When he realized what I was talking about, that there were twinkle-bells of sunshine in the room, he smiled like a weather man, like an ecstatic patron of recurrent light, and repeated the news to Daisy. “What do you think of that? It’s stopped raining.”
  • Chapter 5: After the house, we were to see the grounds and the swimming pool, and the hydroplane, and the midsummer flowers—but outside Gatsby’s window it began to rain again, so we stood in a row looking at the corrugated surface of the Sound. “If it wasn’t for the mist we could see your home across the bay,” said Gatsby. 
  • Chapter 5: “The rain was still falling, but the darkness had parted in the west”
  • Chapter 5: “All the lights were going on in West Egg now; the electric trains, men-carrying, were plunging home through the rain from New York. It was the hour of a profound human change, and excitement was generating on the air.”
  • Chapter 5 (last line): “Then I went out of the room and down the marble steps into the rain, leaving them there together.”
  • Chapter 9: “The rain poured down his (the man with the owl-eyed glasses) thick glasses, and he took them off and wiped them to see the protecting canvas unrolled from Gatsby’s grave.”
  • Chapter 9: “Dimly I heard someone murmur “Blessed are the dead that the rain falls on,” and then the owl-eyed man said “Amen to that,” in a brave voice.”
  • Chapter 9: “We straggled down quickly through the rain to the cars.”

Please do send your work in. I want to publish the most exciting answers and offer advice. Or send us a quote from one your course texts that we could incorporate above!

Now explore our favourite songs about colour.