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*7.04-COLOURED RAIN (Traffic)

Traffic

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Yesterday I was a young boy
Searching for my way,
Not knowing what I wanted
Living life from day to day.

     Till you came along
     There was nothing but an empty space and a pain.

     Feels like coloured rain.
     Tastes like coloured rain.
     Bring on coloured rain.
     Yeah!

[Break]

I can see a sail of changing
Filling with surprise
United with a feeling
Bringing love into my eyes.

     [Chorus]

[Coda]


Coloured Rain features Steve Winwood’s bluesy singing backed by Chris Woods’ saxophone, a warped guitar riff, Winwood’s organ and cowbells. This is as close as the Mr. Fantasy album comes to sounding like Winwood’s previous Spencer Davis Group. The lyric to the first verse sounds so traditional that, at least to this listener, it anchors a song that threatens to wander off, flying especially high in the improvised break and coda. Again, as in much of the Mr. Fantasy album, the metaphor “coloured rain” is unclear in its meaning. The rest of the lyric however is clear enough—someone has given the poet direction in life, “put wind in his sails”, filled in the “empty space” in his life. However, why this should seem like coloured rain is difficult to ascertain unless the chorus turns back on the rest of the lyric. Imagine “coloured rain” as something like Hendrix’ “purple haze” or Prince’s “purple rain”, and that it signifies a change of perception brought on by the use of psychedelic drugs. We can assume then that the supposed lover sung to in the song is indeed a drug of some sort, and the song is meant to praise the positive effect that drugs have on the poet’s life.

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