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mewithoutYou – “Rainbow Signs”

God gave Noah the rainbow sign…no more water, is the H-Bomb next time?

There’s stark contrast in the implications carried by the phrase, “the end of the world.”  For those with a religious upbringing, it likely conjures images of plague, famine, and horsemen wreaking unfathomable devastation.  To others, they might imagine World War III – cyber warfare shutting down power grids, industry, and commerce, while increasingly desperate leaders launch nuclear missiles at each other from outer space.  mewithoutYou’s end-times scenario is a little of both, and their song ‘Rainbow Signs’ entails all of the intensity and destruction that could come if/when a Biblical and secular apocalypse were to cross paths.

What makes  ‘Rainbow Signs’ so effective isn’t its eccentric storytelling, it’s the personal anecdotes.  Aaron Weiss makes God seem like he has a twisted, sarcastic humor (in the above quote, it’s a reference to God’s promise to Noah that he would never again destroy the Earth with a flood — but he never said anything about nuclear bombs).  He also cracks wise about his hairline, comparing it to Napoleon’s receding hairline late in life after his exile to St. Helena, in what also happens to be the first/only time that the mostly Christian band drops the F-bomb on its listeners.  In the middle of the song Weiss prays in both Arabic and Hebrew.   He even ends the song by recounting an inside joke that only he and his deceased father ever shared.  There’s so much humanity and personality injected into what lesser bands might treat merely as an opportunity to shoot for all things epic.

Of course, there’s no doubting the world-crushing weight of the track either, especially when those searing electric riffs descend in the song’s latter half — like fire raining from the sky.  There’s an intensity to Weiss’ shouts of “daylight is breaking!” that feel so sincere that they become frightening verses.  A black horse he calls the Scarecrow Lord rides out conquest-bent; the fourth seal opens (when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him); the sky rolls up into itself like a scroll while mountains and islands move from their place; the sun turns black…yeah, it’s seriously dark shit.

The emotional significance of Weiss’ lyrics, combined with Biblical metaphors of an apocalyptic nature, make ‘Rainbow Signs’ the most intense and terrifying moment in mewithoutYou’s catalog.  In the modern era, where technological/militaristic capabilities could eliminate an entire country in a matter of days, it all feels too real.  There may not really be a Scarecrow Lord – or four horsemen ready to lead the charge against Earth – but that doesn’t make the threat of such overt destruction any less ominous.  Such power in the wrong hands could make any world leader a horseman.  mewithoutYou understands that, and “Rainbow Signs” is a particularly stern warning that the end could be rapidly approaching unless society changes course.

Read more from this decade at my homepage for Sowing’s Songs of the Decade.





SowingSeason
01.04.19
Another obvious inclusion.

Slex
01.04.19
Tremendous write-up for one of the best songs ever

SowingSeason
01.04.19
Thanks...it was hard to ignore my own recency bias in wanting to write about Michael Row Your Boat Ashore, but this slightly edges it as their strongest all around song. Honestly, mwY could have multiple songs on this decade list if I choose to allow more than 1 track per band.

Lucman
01.04.19
Masterpiece of a song.

SowingSeason
01.04.19
Yeah tbh this is probably my favorite song of the decade. I think...don't quote me on that quite yet.

Atari
01.05.19
hey, I’ve actually already heard this one!

I’m guessing it’s gonna be hard to top that Titus Andronicus for me personally. That started this series off with a bang


Atari
01.05.19
Reminder not to use apostrophes in the blog lol, damn

SowingSeason
01.05.19
Another part of the site's charm

JohnnyoftheWell
01.05.19
YES so glad you picked this above Michael (great as it is) - masterpiece of a song and probably my favourite album from this decade

'What makes ‘Rainbow Signs’ so effective isn’t its eccentric storytelling, it’s the personal anecdotes'
Agreed hard, plus your write-up does these anecdotes justice

judgedeath2
01.05.19
track slays

neekafat
01.05.19
"Honestly, mwY could have multiple songs on this decade list if I choose to allow more than 1 track per band."
you should. otherwise its not really your best songs of the decade, it's "Best Songs of the Decade without Repeating Bands as to Pretend I Don't Like Some Bands More than Others"
lol sorry, just never got why people do that for lists like this

Rowan5215
01.05.19
I like how that spotify playlist is already longer than most pop-punk albums lol

nice writeup

neekafat
01.05.19
lmao good point

spanndrew58
01.05.19
I think mwY is the greatest band of my generation, so I’m stoked to see this on the list.

Atari
01.05.19
include as much mwY as you’d like, as long as it’s not The National ;D

SowingSeason
01.05.19
The thing about The National is that I view almost all their records as borderline classics, but I'm not sure they have that distinctive, decade-defining "song" that is in and of itself essential. I'm sure they'll find their way onto this list at some point, but I'm really going to have to put some thought into that inclusion...

luci
01.05.19
must be a good problem to have so many defining songs that one can't be singled out

SowingSeason
01.05.19
Lol that's not what I said at all but I love that you chose to interpret it that way. ;-)

JohnnyoftheWell
01.05.19
You'd be right about the National if Bloodbuzz Ohio didn't exist; band has always been more about keeping up a strong standard than raising the roof

ComeToDaddy
01.06.19
Ive been listening to so much mwY since [untitled] dropped and this would definitely place near/at the top of the list, beauty of a write-up Sowing (also a major fan of the other two songs on the list so far)

SowingSeason
01.06.19
Never been huge on Bloodbuzz, it's a good track and all but no better or worse than most other songs they've written, especially on High Violet.

Thanks ComeToDaddy! mwY has been dominating my rotation pretty much since Pale Horses lol.

ProjectFreak
01.07.19
I don't know if I'd even put this in my top 10 favorite mewithoutYou songs, but this is a heck of a writeup as always

ProjectFreak
01.07.19
I know I'm the weirdo It's All Crazy fanboy but The King Beetle on a Coconut Estate floors me absolutely every time

SowingSeason
01.07.19
yeah they have such a deep pool of excellent songs

Feather
01.07.19
Thank you for this write up ... I read it after getting home drunk this weekend, listened to the song on repeat and then found myself actually reading Revelations 6 lol

SowingSeason
01.08.19
haha that's awesome
thanks for getting so much out of it :-) appreciate you

Feather
01.08.19
Seriously, this write up (along with the fact that I loved the 2018 release) just gave me a huge burst of mewithoutyou appreciation I have been trying to reach, but havn't been able to for years. I think it all finally clicked.

dbizzles
01.08.19
I could read about this song and ban for days.

dbizzles
01.08.19
UGH *band

Great write-up. 5/5 song.

heyadam
05.02.19
echoing dbizzles, I read most of the mwY reviews on here about once every couple weeks lol

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