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Water Wisdom

Posted on: February 1, 2023

For the Love of….Songs that feature Weather and Water - Feb 2023

This winter, our community has been greatly impacted by the storms, heavy rains, atmospheric rivers, and winds, which were a stark contrast to the multi-year droughts that we experience on a regular basis.  As we all know, one rainy season doesn’t mean that the water challenges are over in our community – and we must stay focused on long-term water reliability and resiliency as climate change brings big swings to the weather conditions we face.  We stand strong with our fellow Santa Cruz County community as we continue to live, thrive, and survive following the recent storms and our hearts go out to the residents who were directly impacted.   

A few years ago, we took the opportunity to create our February article to be “For the Love of….” And featured movies, books, and podcasts that were about water.  To keep with the tradition, this year we’re focusing on SONGS related to weather, water, and love.  

To honor the full month of February, we’ve curated 28 songs, one for each day and from a diverse genre, and created a playlist on Spotify at  Below we’ve listed them and highlighted eight.   

  1. Take Me to the River by Al Green (1974) 
  2. You Don’t Miss Your Water by Otis Redding (1965) 
  3. Big River by Johnny Cash (1957) 
  4. I Can’t Stand the Rain by Ann Peebles (1974) 
  5. Texas River Song by Lyle Lovett (1998) 
  6. A Little Rain by Tom Waits (1992) 
  7. Buckets of Rain by Bob Dylan (1975) 
  8. Down to the River to Pray by Allison Kraus (2000) 
  9. Rainbow Connection by Kermit (1979) 
  10. It Will Rain by Bruno Mars (2011) 
  11. Walking on Sunshine by Katerina & The Waves (1985) 
  12. Thunder by Imagine Dragons (2017) 
  13. Rain on Me by Lady Gaga (with Ariana Grande) (2020) 
  14. It’s a Sunshine Day by The Brady Bunch (1972) 
  15. It’s Raining Men by The Weather Girls (1982) 
  16. Set Fire to the Rain by Adele (2011) 
  17. Good Day Sunshine by The Beatles (1966) 
  18. The Banks of the Ohio by Doc Watson (2003) 
  19. Call it Stormy Monday by T-Bone Walker (1947) 
  20. Ripple by the Grateful Dead (1970) 
  21. Fire and Rain by James Taylor (1970) 
  22. Catch the Wind by Donovan (1965) 
  23. Come In With The Rain by Taylor Swift (2021) 
  24. Ocean Eyes by Billie Ellish (2017) 
  25. Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers (1971) 
  26. The River by Bruce Springsteen (1980) 
  27. Evert Teardrop Is a Waterfall by Coldplay (2011) 
  28. Oceania by Björk (2004) 

Take Me to the River: The legendary Reverend Al Green pours his soul into a song about love, betrayal, and redemption. A thoughtful and open-minded listening of the song could convert many non-believers to the healing power of water and rivers. 

Set Fire to the Rain: This is a heart-wrenching, tale of love and loss from the beloved English singing star, Adele. She uses the opposing elements of fire and water in a torch song reminiscent of a Greek tragedy: A woman spurned exacts revenge and annihilation via flaming precipitation. Not the kind of raindrops you want falling on your head. 

Texas River Song: This is a pretty song also includes geology, hydrology, and geography, and a healthy dose of heartbreak. An added bonus: It is sung by Texas icon Lyle Lovett.  

Banks of the Ohio: Some love songs are tragic in concept; some are quite literally tragic. This traditional folk song by Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, Alison Krauss, Ricky Skaggs is the latter and explores the dark side of unrequited loved, and it ends badly. It is performed by a group of bluegrass legends who collectively convey the remorse and sadness of a senseless deed with virtuosity and subtlety. 

You Don’t Miss Your Water: The great Otis Redding convinces us in this song that he is lovesick, but William Bell actually wrote the song about his homesickness. He uses the old adage of not missing your water until the well goes dry, as a metaphor for not appreciating what one has until it’s lost. (If there were such a thing, could this be the “official” song of the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Agency?) 

Big River: From St. Paul to New Orleans, Johnny Cash leads us down the Mississippi on a meandering pursuit of a woman with whom he is smitten because of her Southern drawl. Or, perhaps, it is the river itself that he is following? His tears flood the river, and he vows to sit there until he dies.  

The River: The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, delves into a few of life’s big questions on this song about a man who rues the events and circumstances of his young life. He reminisces about days of romance at the river or the reservoir with his girlfriend, before teenaged pregnancy sends them into early adulthood. “Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true/Or is it something worse?” 

Rain On Me: This song by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande has it all! There’s a beat you can (must) dance to, and it includes rain, tears, misery, and an empowering message. It’s been described as an escapist pop song and a queer anthem. The pop divas lean hard into rain, rain, and more rain. All that rain propels them skyward: “Hands up to the sky/I'll be your galaxy/I'm about to fly/Rain on me, tsunami.”  


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