My Top 1000 Songs #207: This Can't Be Today

I can't overstate just how much I was utterly blown away the first time I heard Rain Parade's 1983 debut album back in college, maybe a year or two after its release.

At the time, spurred on by my discovery of R.E.M., I was totally in the thrall of all those post-punk jangly guitar bands. But I also retained a deep love of 60s psychedelia from my high school explorations of classic rock history.

That Rain Parade record smushed those two loves together--contemporary college radio jangle-pop, but with a trippy undercurrent, drawing on classic late 60s Byrds and Pink Floyd but giving it a shiny new twist. The whole album is all killer no filler; but "This Can't Be Today" is a pretty concise encapsulation of the band's vibe. There's a warm, rolling baseline, overlaid with chiming, buzzing guitars, some airy garage band keyboards, and haunting, reverbed vocals; not to mention some restrained drumming that conjures psych-era Ringo Starr. Plus that wicked breakdown after the bridge, when everything falls away before crashing back in.

Live from the reunion tour about a decade back: