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"Rain" is a song by American singer Madonna from her fifth studio album Erotica (1992). The song was released on July 6, 1993 by Maverick Records as the album's fifth single internationally and the fourth single in North America. It was later included on her ballad compilation album Something to Remember (1995). The song was written and produced by Madonna and Shep Pettibone. A pop ballad with influence from trip hop and new-age music, "Rain" features a more "friendly" composition than the other singles released from the album. Lyrically the song likens rain to the empowering effect of love, and as with water's ability to clean and wash away pain. Like the other songs on Erotica, sexual contact is also a possible interpretation of the song.
"Rain" received positive response from music critics, who noted it as an exceptional ballad amongst the overtly sexual content on Erotica. It peaked at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, while becoming a top-ten hit in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom. The accompanying music video was shot in black and white by director Mark Romanek and colored manually with blue tones. It features Madonna singing the song against various backdrops on a set. The music video was praised by many critics for its innovation and cinematography. Madonna has only performed the song during The Girlie Show World Tour in 1993, while a remixed version of the song was used as a video interlude during her 2008–09 Sticky & Sweet Tour.
The music video for "Rain" was filmed by director Mark Romanek during May 16–19, 1993 at a Santa Monica Airport hangar in Santa Monica, California. Other production crews include Krista Montagna as the producer, Harris Savides as the director of photography, Jon Peter Flack as the production designer, Robert Duffy as the editor, and David Bradshaw as the wardrobe stylist. The video was entirely shot in black and white and then hand-painted with blue tones. It displays Madonna during a filming process with Ryuichi Sakamoto as a director and a group of Japanese technicians. Romanek and Madonna initially wanted to get Jean-Luc Godard or Federico Fellini to play the director in the video. Romanek commented: "I came up with the basic idea of setting it in Tokyo and showing the film crew. It was very Zen, very stripped away. She was this accessible, vulnerable creature surrounded by the high-tech and the global." The director's primary inspiration came from watching a commercial by Jean-Baptiste Mondino, starring actress Catherine Deneuve. Madonna was also seen reclining on a riveted aluminium chaise lounge known as the Lockheed Lounge, designed by then unknown Marc Newson.
The video begins with Madonna in a studio, lying on a sofa with headphones on her ears composing a song, following a sequence in which she sings in front of a microphone, which alternates with those of her receiving instructions from the director. She then appears in front of a background of bright lights, representing the sun-lit sky, and also in a scene of her kissing a man behind glass on which water falls. The video ends with an air view of open umbrellas covering the entire floor. Madonna introduced another completely new persona for the video. She wore a wig which provides "a waif-like cap of short black hair with spiky bangs." She also removed her trademark mole and got her eyebrows back, which had been virtually invisible in her previous videos. The look took inspirations from Paris in the 1940s, cabaret singer Édith Piaf and ingenues in general. Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons provided the minimalist black clothes in the video, while the ethereal white clothes was designed by Vivienne Westwood.
The video premiered on June 21, 1993 on MTV, and later won two categories for Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards. Bryant Frazer from Studio Daily described it as a futuristic, overexposed look influenced by Japanese fashion imagery." He noted that the video "pushed the boundaries of telecine work at the time." Rettenmund called the video a "masterpiece about art and artifice". He noted that although Romanek expressed to create a video "devoid of nostalgia", instead the "Rain" clip "created a modern enigma [out of Madonna] who herself was no stranger to overexposure". The video was later commercially available on Madonna's video albums The Video Collection 93:99 (1999) and Celebration: The Video Collection (2009).
From the album Erotica
B-side: "Up Down Suite", "Waiting", "Open Your Heart", "Fever"
Released: July 6, 1993
Format: 7", 12", cassette, CD
Recorded: 1992; Sound Works Studio (Astoria, New York)
Label: Maverick, Sire, Warner Bros.
Writer(s): Madonna, Shep Pettibone
Producer(s): Madonna, Shep Pettibone
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