Songs: Ohia - Didn't It Rain LP

(Secretly Canadian, 2002)



“Real truth about it is, there’s a willful, angry hope at the center of Didn’t It Rain. It’s a single little light refusing to be snubbed that Molina fans throughout the record. But his fire doesn’t burn for himself alone. There’s almost always a “you” here, some unnamed person to whom these songs are addressed. It’s the person whose presence his voice seeks as it probes the darkness like a lighthouse beacon through fog in the title track; “try to see the light of goodness burning down the track,” he pleads, even when that light is obscured by rain and wires.

While it was recorded in Philadelphia, Didn’t It Rain was largely written in Molina’s newly adopted hometown of Chicago. He was consciously trying to write in the blues tradition, but the album hardly reflects the swagger and sway of the Chicago masters. Instead, Molina makes his camp any one of the numerous decaying towns that fan out across the midwest. It’s not difficult to imagine that “the bridge out of Hammond” that forms the setting of “Steve Albini’s Blues” leads right into the empty smokestack silhouette of Gary. And from there, just thirty miles south of The Loop, where you can see Chicago’s southern edge wrap itself around the southwestern corner of Lake Michigan, the city looms like a threat: “Blue Chicago moon/Swings like a blade/Above the midwest’s heart,” goes the famous line in “Cross the Road, Molina.”

...Didn’t It Rain comes packaged with original demos for most of the album’s tracks, along with a pair of songs he would later re-record. Because the sound of the raw demos so closely mirrors the finished album, they lack the standalone value of their MECo counterparts. But they also demonstrate just how finely Molina tuned his ideas before entering the studio.” - M. Garner for Aquarium Drunkard