Rainy days have a bad reputation. For something so life providing, necessary, recycling, and calming, they seem to be most commonly associated, and unfairly so, with sadness, depression, negativity, and death. I suppose that the lack of sunshine that comes with rainy days can have some sort of mental effect on us, and sure, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a “real” thing, but I think often times we mistake a lack of energy for a lack of contentment; therefore lack of sun for a lack of happiness. So it’s only natural that we relate the antithesis of sunny days with the opposite of positivity. But in doing so, I think we are fundamentally off base.
It seems that most of us in some form or another have a “rainy day” music playlist. Though certainly brimming with melancholy undertones, these playlists are often some of our most star-studded and consistently referred to collections in our libraries. Perhaps because the artists who populate such markets are capable of expressing and evoking a wide breadth of emotion, many of which are indeed blue, they are mistaken for depressing artists who dwell in an emotionally painful arena. But in reality, I find that the artists and the music who call “rainy day” playlists home, are, just like rainy days themselves, more honest and in-touch reflections of life itself. They use their art to express a broad range of emotional twists and turns, and in exchange for involving a balanced, honest approach instead of the narrow frame found in much of modern music, we call them sad.
If my days were energetic, violent, and intense enough to always be fitting of the tone that Migos provides, I wouldn’t have the time or the patience to write these articles. If my days were romantic and lustful enough to be worthy of the themes of DVSN as the constant auditory backdrop to my life, I would be much more interesting than I really am. And though there are times and places when music from these artists is applicable, and situations where even if it isn’t appropriate to my scenario, I want to dive into their creative extremism, more often than not, when I’m living my everyday life full of situational normalcy and emotional waves, I defer to music more reminiscent of my existence. And more often than not, to do so I turn to my “rainy day” playlist.
Rainy days are an excuse to relax, dive into a passion, take ourselves on a car ride to emotionally reflect. In doing so, they’re a chance for letting go of what doesn’t matter in favor of the things that truly do, and the music we turn to on rainy days is fitting of a similar compliment.
A recent highlight of my personal take on a “rainy day” playlist is London-based one-man musical powerhouse, MTMBO. With an angelic voice, a gift for the piano, and an organic, surrealist approach to production, there is no reason why MTMBO shouldn’t be a part of your daily ritual as well. Though over the past three years he has only released seven tracks to Soundcloud, and only eclipsed the 3-minute mark with his most recent two, his music is of the kind capable of removing you from your surroundings and placing you into the living sphere of his auditory aesthetic. This scape is filled with emotion, color, and life and though by first listen, his vocal range may lead you to sad conclusions, the real emotion present in his work is honest elation.
He seems to be a mysterious fellow, and that’s not only because of his music. His online presence is rather limited, and until very recently, thanks to the exposure granted in both directions from his collaboration with recommended YouTube glory hole, COLORS, his name was even less known. But his limited presence has never halted his musical progression or his imminent rise to a loyal, massive following. His songs on Soundcloud all boast exceptional play counts and an even stronger response of positivity.
But more than anything, MTMBO’s sound is simply honest and refreshing. What he lacks in experience, he makes up for in sounding like he has an awful lot of it. His ethereal vocals fittingly couple with his unfeigned lyricism divulging stories of love, loss, and life overtop delicate yet powerful keystrokes and faultless production. They come together to tell a story so powerful that it removes us from our physical existence and allows us full immersion into our own thoughts and emotions. It pushes us to reflect, accept, and live, seeing the beauty in our everyday lives and learning not to take for granted the things that matter most.
Though there are many other artists whose work dots the landscape of my playlists with emotional, sometimes melancholy themes, Australian producer and vocalist Abraham Tilbury is a standout deserving of particular recognition. In some ways, he may possess a similar resumé to MTMBO, but he plays to a different side of the rainy day audience. His vocals are perhaps less crystalline and pure, his keys and production a tad more playful, and his canon far heavier though stretching over the same expanse of time.
Unlike his British counterpart who released single Mottingham just nine days ago, Tilbury hasn’t given us a taste of his creative brilliance in a while. His last two single releases, California and Morphine are far and away his most popular to date, but came more than a year ago, which leaves us believing he is due for something soon.
However, in the mean time, the two, along with the rest of his vast and impressive collection, are more than enough to drive the emotional and honest musical direction that hopefully mirrors a similar direction to our lives. Tilbury’s music is deeply personal, comfortably relatable, and calmingly joyous in its ability to reach all ends of the emotional spectrum within a single song. It gets there thanks to Tilbury’s creativity in his predominant production that separates him from the pack.
MTMBO and Abraham Tilbury in collaboration with one another would create music defined by its noteworthy vocalism, poetically relatable lyricism, and low-key strokes of production genius to highlight both of their talent. Above all, it would be emotionally charged in the same ways as our daily lives – filled with vast ups and downs, joy and defeat, love and life. And just like the playlists their joint music would undoubtedly come to populate, it would be fitting of a rainy day – but not in the sense of melancholia, instead in the sense of honesty and truth.
Perhaps that is what we can learn most from artists like MTMBO and Abraham Tilbury – that our daily lives, our everyday days are not in fact sad and to see it for yourself, all it takes is a listen to the music that most accurately reflects them, even when the sun is shining. Maybe our “rainy day” playlists should instead be called “everyday playlists.”