I am a self-professed disliker of country pop. I prefer something a little more rooted in traditional song structures, and something with a little more twang. However, I have always found Jana Kramer far more listenable than most, and the singles released up until now, ‘Why You Wanna’ and ‘Whiskey’ I think have been strong, and have done fairly well on the charts considering how new she is to country music. ‘I Hope It Rains’ continues this pattern, and while all are quite pop-orientated (indeed, this track includes “na na nas” as a hook), the songs pay a little more attention to ‘country’ instrumentation than some others, and are simply more interesting.
‘I Hope It Rains’ is built around drums and electric guitar, but has a significant mandolin part that both begins and underlines the song throughout, and very low in the mix, a steel guitar is just audible on the chorus. This makes it more pleasant-sounding and aurally accessible than some of the other straight pop songs in Nashville, and while it has a pretty conventional sonic unit of the punchy guitar lines led by a standard drum beat, it’s fairly dynamic and summery. As is vital for all summer songs, it could easily be played whilst driving and create a great atmosphere.
Of course, it is not for those who like strongly traditional music, but that’s not Jana Kramer’s market anyway. This song is a bit of modern country pop fun, and is certainly catchy without being annoying, elongated vowels being a signature of the song and making it great to sing along to. To add to this, the chorus is a big belter, and will certainly appeal to groups of her female fans. The lyrics are also a key part of why ‘I Hope It Rains’ will be successful. Dipping into the Taylor Swift-pioneered theme of scorned lover, Jana manages to do it without accusing the lover of wrongdoing during their relationship or getting revenge. Instead, this falls more into the “bless your heart” category, retaining her dignity whilst casually wishing negative things upon him. The lyrics also tell somewhat of a story, taking the ex-lover through various situations with his new girlfriend where rain would be one of the worst things to happen at that moment. In this way there’s an element of comedy, helped by Jana’s sly sass that puts across the meaning of the song well. I think she could have pushed it just a little further, but it’s satisfactory.
I think the fact that the song uses understated revenge/scorned lover ideas makes it far less annoying than other songs in the same vein, and more just a fun song that’ll take Jana’s teenage and young adult fans through the summer. I think it’ll also do well at country radio, and will make top 20 across the charts. With the abundance of summer songs around, there’s a possibility it might get lost in the crowd, so while it should make top 10 at a normal time of year, I’m worried that her newness as a performer will relegate her behind the genre’s biggest stars of the moment.
However, I’ll be rooting for this song as it inevitably climbs the charts.
You can listen to ‘I Hope It Rains’ here: