Sarah Recommends: “Kingdom of Rain” by The The

“There’s no more blood
and no more pain
in our kingdom of rain”

The The’s Mindbomb has “Gravitate to Me” on it (which is one of the greatest erotic songs of the late twentieth century), but it also has “Kingdom of Rain,” which is one of the most devastating songs to chronicle the end of a relationship, like Elvis Costello’s “I Want You,” but with more. Matt Johnson and Sinead O’Connor are perfect together on this, each singing out their pain and their suspicions and the knowing that whatever there was is gone now.

I went through a particularly nasty break-up eight years ago. I holed up in my bedroom, staring at the wall above my desk, listening to songs on repeat until lyrics congealed and became background noise, and I wondered what I had done, but at the same time knowing that there was no point to that question. This was not going to be fixed. I reeled under the weight of being told “I love you” for almost five months, and then to have it mean so little. For a long time, I couldn’t see that we probably shouldn’t have been anywhere near each other to start with, and that an active alcoholic (him) and an active addict (me, in denial) together are a continuous chemical fire. He got sober about a month before he left, and I continued to look for things that would numb me to the world. I thought I wanted this all-consuming love, one with the possibility to destroy. Johnson’s and O’Connor’s voices strip down this myth: “And I would lie awake and wonder/’is it just me ? Or is this the way that love is supposed to be ?’”

I listened to this song once during that time. It was too real. It still is.

(Song recommendation by Sarah Nichols)

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