“Summer Rain” was released as a single from Belinda Carlisle’s 1989 album, Runaway Horses. The single was released on January 13, 1990, and peaked at number 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
I was 14 years old and in the ninth grade when this single was released. When I heard it, I quickly realized it was a “story song” (this is a phrase I use to describe a song whose lyrics tell a story). The song is about a man who leaves his wife to go off to war and tells her that nothing will change because they will be together forever. The story is set in the present, and his widow is remembering the last time she saw him. I’ve always had an attraction to songs that tell stories, and I was intrigued by the story being told in “Summer Rain.” It really helps that Belinda has a great vocal performance that makes the listener believe that she’s singing from her own experience instead of simply singing from a character’s perspective. 25 years later, the song is just as strong now as it was when the single was released. I’ve always thought it was a shame that “Summer Rain” didn’t perform better on the music charts.
The music video shows the story of the song, and is intercut with footage of Belinda singing inside a building. The footage that tells the story looks great and works well. However, the footage of Belinda in the “building” doesn’t hold up as well. I watched the video right before writing this up, and it was painfully obvious that in the “building” scenes, Belinda is actually performing in front of either a blue screen or a green screen. Belinda just stood out too much in comparison to the background, and the background didn’t entirely look natural. If this music video were made today, those “building” scenes probably would have looked a lot better through computer graphics technology. It’s a not a bad video for what it is, but some of the footage just doesn’t look as good as it could have.