Ever since I gave Lauren Alaina’s “Doin’ Fine” a 7 out of 10 nearly a month ago, I’ve been stuck in a rut of musical mediocrity. The moment I heard the opening of Luke Combs’s “When It Rains It Pours,” however, I knew that things were about to change.
I was lukewarm on Combs’s debut single “Hurricane,” and greeted the news of its topping the charts with a shrug. I’d watched enough artists struggle to repeat the success of a smash hit debut (does anyone remember A Thousand Horses, or William Michael Morgan?) to know that maintaining radio momentum can be harder than earning it in the first place, so I was curious to see if Combs could repeat his debut feat or just fade back into obscurity.
After hearing “When It Rains It Pours,” I think he’s end up closer to the former option, because this is the most flat-out fun song I’d heard in a while.
The production here has a distinctly neotraditional edge to it, with a rollicking 90s-era electric guitar doing the heavy lifting for the melody. The percussion is real, and there’s both a steel and an acoustic guitar floating around in the background (and maybe a fiddle in spots? It’s hard to tell), but the lead guitar is the big draw here, as it establishes a fun, positive atmosphere, builds and maintains energy on both the verses and chorus, and even turns in a Brad Paisley-esque solo on the bridge. (Seriously, the guitar’s tone and the player’s technical skill makes you wonder if Paisley might actually be playing on this track.) It’s the kind of uptempo, energetic track you want to blast from your car speakers as you’re flying down the highway with the windows down.
Combs delivers a great performance here, and while his range and flow are not showcased much, he does a great job selling the song through his enthusiasm and energy—he sounds like he’s having an absolute blast!
While I wouldn’t say Combs offers anything unique with his delivery (give it to any other male country singer, and it would probably sound about the same), it’s his earnestness and believability that let him really connect with his listeners and take this track to another level, much more so than on “Hurricane.” Combs demonstrates the sort of populist appeal on this song that makes me think he’s got a bright future in this league.
Lyrically, the song takes the usual post-breakup heartbreak trope and turns it on its ear, and instead describes an incredible streak of post-breakup luck that the narrator attributes to his ex’s leaving. (As a side note, the title’s use of rain imagery is a great head fake that makes the listener think they’re about to hear a sad song.)
The song starts a bit slow, as the writing on the first verse isn’t terribly sharp and forces Combs to overstretch some syllables, but it quickly tightens up starting with the first chorus, and while some of the imagery is a bit generic, other scenes are refreshingly unique—how often do songs mention winning a radio contest or a Moose Club raffle? (Also, the “ex future mother-in-law” phrase is a personal favorite of mine.) While the writing hints that the narrator is a bit too fond of nightlife and may not really deserve their good fortune, Combs’s charisma and energy makes the narrator a sympathetic, relatable character, ensuring that the track maintains its fun, lighthearted vibe.
Overall, “When It Rains It Pours” is a great song that features classic production, interesting lyrics, and a strong delivery from Luke Combs. It’s a step or two above “Hurricane,” and makes me more optimistic about the future of both Combs and the country genre as a whole. After a month-long dry spell of mediocre music, this song was truly a refreshing blast of rain.