No matter where in the world we’re from, all of us have, at some point, ripped back the curtain in the morning in the hopes that the sky will be the colour we want it to be.
Whether you’re more likely to cross your fingers for sun or rain, the weather can be a hugely important factor in deciding what sort of day – or even week – we’re going to have. From hugely important days like wedding and graduation to ordinary walks to work or nights out on the town, the weather is always something we’re thinking about.
It’s nice to have the right song to match our rainy days or our blue skies. The musicians on this list have sung about all kinds of different weather, from sunshine to hurricanes, in all kinds of ways. Here are 21 of the best songs about the weather to suit whatever’s going on outside your window.
Top Songs About the Weather
“Clearly” – Grace VanderWaal
This sunny tune from Britain’s Got Talent winner Grace VanderWaal interpolates Johnny Nash’s ‘I Can See Clearly Now’, keeping most of the song’s original chorus but rewriting the verses and giving the track a completely different sound.
VanderWaal talks about facing up to the difficult things in life, and how you have to be prepared to look them in the eye in order to overcome them. “I can see clearly now the rain has gone,” she sings. “I accept all the things that I cannot change.”
“Come In With The Rain” – Taylor Swift
Swift is hoping she’ll wake up and find that her ex-boyfriend has found his way back into her life. She leaves her window open as she falls asleep, despite the bad weather. “Just know I’m right here hoping that you’ll come in with the rain,” she sings. “Come In With The Rain” was a bonus track on the platinum edition of Swift’s Fearless album, and was eventually rerecorded for Fearless (Taylor’s Version).
“T-Shirt Weather” – Circa Waves
This summery indie rock tune from Circa Waves sees singer Kieran Shudall reminiscing about the summers of his childhood, a cinematic sheen on everything. “I remember t-shirt weather,” he sings, describing singalongs in the car, long lie-ins and burning his fingers on seatbelts. When his current life gets overwhelming or seems to move too quickly, Shudall returns to his t-shirt weather memories.
“London Thunder” – Foals
Foals deliver a melancholy depiction of touring life in this mournful tune. Vocalist Yannis Phillppakis uses the changes in the weather to track the huge gaps of time he spends away from his home in London. “So one last drink for summer…” he sings. “Come back to London thunder.” The track discusses the shift in the band’s attitude to touring from when they were younger, and how the older they’ve gotten, the more they’ve wanted to put down roots.
“April Showers” – Maisie Peters
This springtime indie pop tune from Peters references the phrase “April showers”, often used to describe rainy spells in spring. However, Peters isn’t talking about the literal weather – the “April” in this scenario is a girl.
“When April showers, you wash her hair – she’s got your heart inside your hands,” she sings bitterly. Peters can’t stop thinking about her ex showering with April, his new girl.
“Midnight Rain” – Taylor Swift
Swift has referenced rain many times in her music, with it being one of her most popular images. In “Midnight Rain”, she uses weather to illustrate the difference between her and her hometown boyfriend.
“He was sunshine, I was midnight rain,” she sings. Whilst her boyfriend wants to settle down and have a nice, normal life, Swift is far too ambitious to settle with him.
“Midnight Rain” comes from Swift’s record-breaking tenth studio album, Midnights. The album sees her reminiscing on past relationships and experiences in the middle of the night.
“Tornado Warnings” – Sabrina Carpenter
Carpenter’s turning a blind eye to the extreme weather around her. She and her ex are sat in the park reminiscing about their relationship, and “ignoring tornado warnings”. The tornado warnings aren’t actual warnings about severe weather conditions, but the red flags that Sabrina and her ex are willing to pretend don’t exist. However, Carpenter knows what she’s doing is a bad idea – that’s why she finds herself lying to her therapist about the meetings.
“Sunshine & City Lights” – Greyson Chance
This ‘summer in the city’ tune from Greyson Chance is a little different from others of its ilk. The relationship he finds himself in is confusing, and he thinks his ex just needs to follow their happiness and find stability. “Sunshine and city lights will guide you home,” he tells them. He also needs them to know that he’ll never give up on them.
“A Year Without Rain” – Selena Gomez & The Scene
The title track from Selena Gomez’s second album sees her missing her lover. “A day without you is like a year without rain,” she sings. The dance-pop track is an upbeat number, despite its mournful lyrics. Its music video saw Selena singing the track from a desert, to complement the drought imagery in the track. Selena also recorded the track in Spanish, titling it “Un Ano Sin Lluvia”.
“Blue Skies” – Noah And The Whale
“This is a song for anyone with a broken heart,” Charlie Fink sings in the opening line of “Blue Skies”. Fink was among the broken-hearted, having just broken up with former band member Laura Marling.
Much of the band’s First Days Of Spring album discusses the break-up, with ‘Blue Skies’ being its first single. Despite his broken-heartedness, Fink knows that better days are on the horizon. “Blue skies are coming,” he assures himself and everyone listening.
“Great Big Storm” – Nate Ruess
Reuss originally wrote this song with another artist in mind, but ended up recording it himself at the suggestion of his producer. It discusses his efforts to keep things together as everyone seems to be going on around him. “Holding on in a great big storm,” he repeats throughout the track. “Great Big Storm” is a huge euphoric indie pop song that sees Reuss laying it all on the line.
“Here Comes The Sun” – The Beatles
Written by George Harrison, this gentle tune from The Beatles was penned shortly after the death of their manager Brian Epstein. A long winter in which the band struggled to get their accounts and business affairs in order without Epstein saw Harrison longing for the summer sun to return. On the first sunny day that arrived, Harrison picked up a guitar and out came “Here Comes The Sun.”
Harrison sang lead vocals on the recording, which ended up on the band’s Abbey Road album. When Harrison died in 2001, the song was played by many artists as a tribute to him.
“Rock You Like A Hurricane” – Scorpions
This huge rock anthem from German rock band Scorpions uses the image of a hurricane to demonstrate an explosion of energy and sexuality. “Here I am, rock you like a hurricane,” the band repeat in the song’s chorus.
The track has been used many times in TV and film over the years, with one of the most recent examples being in Stranger Things 2 on Netflix. It’s widely considered to be one of the most influential rock tracks in history.
“It’s Raining Men” – The Weather Girls
The Weather Girls describe a very unusual phenomenon in this 80s disco track. “For the first time in history, it’s gonna start raining men,” the duo sing. Even though the track addresses women directly, Martha Wash and Izora Armstead knew that the song would be embraced by the gay community – which it was, becoming popular in gay dance clubs. The track was originally offered to Donna Summers, who turned it down as she found it to be blasphemous.
“You Are My Sunshine” – Ray Charles
This sunny track was first recorded in 1940 by Jimmie Davis and his guitarist Charles Mitchell, but many artists have recorded it over the years. Ray Charles’ version is among the most recognised, along with that of Bing Crosby and Johnny Cash. “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey,” go the lyrics.
“Pocketful Of Sunshine” – Natasha Bedingfield
This 2008 hit from Natasha Bedingfield sees the singer feeling untouchable thanks to her unbreakable self-love. “I got a love and I know that it’s all mine,” she sings. ‘Pocketful Of Sunshine’ is often referred to as an empowerment album, with Bedingfield emphasising that she knows how to create her own great weather.
The song is used in the film Easy A starring Emma Stone. The famous scene sees Stone’s character opening a card that plays “Pocketful Of Sunshine” automatically. At first finding the song irritating, Stone then goes on to play ‘Pocketful Of Sunshine’ on repeat until the card stops working.
“Purple Rain” – Prince
“Purple Rain” was inspired by Bob Seger. Prince was amazed at how well crowds connected to Seger’s slow, emotional ballads and decided to write one of his own. ‘Purple Rain’ became the title track of an album, which became the soundtrack of the Purple Rain film. The success of all three was so massive that Prince later described the song as his “albatross.” “It’ll be hanging around my neck as long as I’m making music,” he told The Observer.
“Set Fire To The Rain” – Adele
Adele uses an impossible weather phenomenon to describe a doomed love affair. Adele does the impossible – she leaves and manages to move on, setting fire to the rain, even though it hurts both of them.
The idea for the song apparently came to her whilst trying to light a cigarette outside of a restaurant in the rain, something she quickly realised couldn’t be done. When “Set Fire To The Rain” hit No.1 on the charts, Adele became the first British artist to have three No.1 songs on one album since George Michael achieved the feat in the late 80s.
“She’s Thunderstorms” – Arctic Monkeys
This metaphor came about as Alex Turner struggled to find a way to accurately describe and compliment his girlfriend. He decided that she was so complicated, impressive and sometimes intimidating that she was like several thunderstorms at once.
Turner wrote this track in his apartment in New York, in which he lived with his girlfriend. He recalled to NME that there actually had been a thunderstorm going on as a he conceptualised the track.
“Snow (Hey Oh)” – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Although this Chili Peppers track is named after a kind of cold weather, it’s actually about lead singer Anthony Kiedis’ drug habits. Kiedis sings about his relationship with both cocaine and China White heroin, both powdery white substances. “In between the cover of another perfect wonder and it’s so white as snow,” he sings.
On a deeper level, the track is about repeated failure and the frustration of trying to make a fresh start. Kiedis wants to form better habits and live a more fulfilled life, but finds it difficult to kick the habit.
“Walking On Sunshine” – Katrina & The Waves
“I used to think maybe you loved me, now baby I’m sure,” sings Katrina Leskanich. Despite her and her lover being separated by distance, she’s sure that one day he’ll show up at her door to surprise her. Until then, she’ll keep checking her mail and dreaming about the two of them being together. The distance isn’t enough to stop her being deliriously happy – she’s a step above walking on air.
Some days it’s easy for us to make our own sunshine – others, all we want to do is go for a walk in the rain. Whatever the mood outside your window or inside your head, the right song can play a big role in helping you to navigate it. And if you’re just waiting for sunny days to return, there’s plenty of sunshiny tracks on this list to help you live vicariously for a while.
Caitlin Devlin is a music, entertainment and lifestyle writer based in London. When she’s not creating playlists for Repeat Replay, she’s reviewing gigs and interviewing artists for Ticketmaster UK and thinking about what her Spotify Wrapped will look like this year.