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You can listen to “You Call It Rain” and the rest of The Grand Theatre Vol. 2 streaming on kxt.org. And you can get your own copy on July 5th!

JEFF: “You Call It Rain” is a surprising end to an outstanding album, a light-hearted, buoyant little tune about being happy wherever you are, whatever life throws at you. You could dig into it for some deep metaphors about the band — when you’ve got four guys who’ve stuck together for almost two decades, against all odds, making great music and being happy with their lot in life when many in their shoes would be bitter about Fame being such a fickle flirt. But what’s the point. Search for meaning if you must. I’m going back to track one, cranking it up, and enjoying the ride. In the end, the work speaks for itself, and Fame knows where she can go.

KEN:* …the best amp story has to do with this little amp called a Newcome that was at the studio. It’s probably from the 40’s or early 50’s and it’s tiny. Like, 5 watts and a 4″ speaker. It really sounded like crap but it looked really cool. I kept tinkering with it, trying to make it not suck. At some point I plugged in a little 7-channel Boss EQ and EQ’d it kind of weird (I put the ones on the end and the one in the middle all the way up, and the others all the way down.) As soon as I started playing it I knew it I had struck gold. I was making a little “auto-wah” sound that Philip came running in and said it sounded like a duck. So it became known as the “duck amp.” You can hear it on “You Call It Rain” on Volume 2. It’s hot.

*Originally appeared here.

STEPHANIE: You’d think I’d know by now that when an Old 97’s song sounds kind of happy, I should be suspicious. Nope. Even though I was bummed that it was the last song on the disc, this song seemed delightful. Right?

In my brain video, the woman is in the driver’s seat because at least  metaphorically, she usually is. She’s pretty ticked off because of the timing of this storm. They have a THING to get to! Mr. Optimist in the passenger seat is kind of irritating, and he’s trying to make her laugh. 

Second verse, I imagine that she’s warming up a little. She lets him put the radio on, maybe cracks a smile at the poor bastard. 

When we get to that last verse; however, it seems that he may have had some ‘splainin’ to do. Of course, he’s still trying to win her (back) over (to the way it was way back when) with a cheeky wink and poke in the ribs. 

Okay, maybe it’s not as dark as a jaunty 97’s song could be, but it’s definitely more interesting than a typical poppy love song. Another favorite. Who am I kidding? I have about six favorite songs on this album! After several listens in the last two weeks, this album is in my top three of all of their albums. The cumulative talent of the guys shines throughout the album. Like a fine wine, baby…  

Looking very forward to my next 97’s show so I can sing along to all of my new favorites. Maybe they can just add 45 minutes to their typical set and add this album in its entirety? Too much to ask? Whether they honor this request or not, I am one happy wrecker with thirteen new tunes that have exceeded my high expectations. Thanks, Old 97’s, for another amazing album. How do you do it?! 

MARIE: “You Call It Rain” just plain makes me happy. Hearing Ken’s four opening notes with Philip’s kicky, stick raps, immediately produces an enormous ear-to-ear smile across my face. In signature 97’s fashion, this buoyant, head-bopping melody is the perfect foil to the layered, not-quite-as-happy-as-it-sounds lyrics. A sudden cloudburst is the perfect excuse for our protagonist to be happily trapped in the car in the company of his special girl.

We can make due
Make time while the radio plays a song
Wait out the rain
Although I hope it goes on and on
Right now is a pretty good time

Is he merely trying to placate her dampened mood with his contagious optimism, or is he attempting to make amends for some past transgression?

I believe we all call the shots
We all write the plots
I believe love finds a way
What did you expect me to say?

You call it too late
I call it a chance at a second wind
We can go back
Way back to the way it was way back when
Right now is a pretty good time

With a lighthearted, breezy tone, “You Call It Rain” is the perfect final act before the curtain drops on the Grand Theatre. Like a finely crafted musical, Volume 2 ends with a catchy, crowd-pleasing earworm that will have the audience singing all the way home.

I didn’t think it was possible to outdo Volume One, but damned if our favorite foursome hasn’t done just that. This thing is incredible The perfect follow up to the musical force that is Volume One. I LOVE this album start to finish. From the first listen, it caught me in its spell and I’m drawn in further with each subsequent spin.

Rhett has been quoted as saying Volume One is epistolary, a series of letters back and forth. I would suggest Volume Two is more a collection of short stories, vignettes of the human condition fraught with themes of unattainable love, lamentation and a wee bit of loathing, all cleverly masked under irresistible, upbeat melodies that defy one’s body to stand still. I’ve lived with this CD for two weeks, and there’s no sign of it coming out of my player any time soon.

Back-to-back albums filled to the brim with future favorites and a touring schedule that goes on well into 2012… Right now IS a pretty darn good time to be an Old 97’s fan.

Volume 2 drops tomorrow, and the fun picks up again on July 7th. See you on the road!

Song-a-Day Countdown Table of Contents