Why It Never Rains in Southern California

by Jeremiah Estrada

Albert Hammond, British-Gibraltarian Singer-Songwriter, Performing

Albert Hammond got to California with a dream in his pocket.  He had big aspirations, but chasing after them put him through some trials and tribulations.  London was where he grew up and he left when he was in his 20s to pursue a career in the music industry.  Eventually finding himself in this sunny state on the west coast, he realizes that it isn’t exactly what it sought out to be.  Southern California turned out to be his form of an Emerald City where going there may not have been worth it and seemed more like a pipe dream.  It Never Rains in Southern California and he just might be right about that.


Hammond’s song speaks from the musician’s perspective of moving to a new place and trying to make it out there, especially in a place like Hollywood.  Los Angeles is essentially built off people’s hopes and dreams.  He pours out from his own experiences of leaving home and trying to make it in the big city.  In the song, he says although it seems it never rains, it pours but rather he means in misery and disappointment instead of rain.  The same can be said about other major cities that are often romanticized like Paris and New York.  Many fall for the glamorous trap but may just end up trying to get by and make ends meet.  Or there are others like me who may be reluctant or cautious about finding success in these places.  Going there becomes scary and can have you second guess your choices even if that’s what you always set out on doing.  This song makes those connections to the harsh reality behind following your dreams.  His song reveals these things.


Vintage Southern California

It certainly sounds like it was made in the 70s, and that’s what makes it great.  From the flute to the strings in the background instrumental that fill your soul.  Hammond hits a groovy tone in this while still meeting this soft sound that shows the gloomy meaning that is found in the lyrics.  He meets that middle ground.  He writes his own testimony that reflects on the challenges he had in his career.  It has strong verses and bridges, but the chorus is what makes this most memorable.  The catchy tune paired with Hammond’s soothing voice is a recipe for singing along to it at the top of your lungs.  The brief interlude also gives listeners a chance to sway along to the music even more and jump back into the song.


I heard this song at the end credits of a Euphoria episode this season.  It was also used in a trailer for the showing previewing the new season.  Despite just generally being a great song, I think it was also a clever choice for the show’s soundtrack.  The song’s message reflects the plot of the show literally with how it’s set in SoCal, and metaphorically to represent the dilemma the main character Rue undergoes with addiction in addition to the lives of other characters.  It can represent the sorrowful tones the series typically aims for through the messages about drug use.  The ambiance of the song is light and playful as opposed to its lyrics is relative to that of Euphoria where it offers viewers a bright and glitzy surface while we burrow into the heavy storylines.


“Oh, that talk of opportunities, TV breaks and movies”

 

Hammond thought he made it to the promised land when he packed his bags, got on a flight, and moved out to California.  He had his mind set on finding great work in this place he has always heard much about.  Falling under that impression, he moved there with less luck than what he was looking for.  His lyrics put it plainly how this place seems like the land of opportunities at the surface, but it’s more than it seems, or less.  Many people trying to come to LA with desires to become an influencer, singer, actor, or just to be famous and want to catch their big break.  This line indicates how it’s all talk.  Getting famous or being successful doesn’t come by easy.

 

“I'm underloved, I'm underfed, I wanna go home”

 

By this point of the song, Hammond has made it clear of his regrets of ever leaving the UK.  He’s out of money, out of food, and out of the praise he searched for.  This lyric shows him coming to terms with the aimless situation he has wound up in here in Hollywood.  The soul he puts behind singing just the single word ‘home’ especially contends to his remorseful feelings. That line puts to pieces the kind of misery that many dreamers encounter.  They are left with nothing, not even much of their pride after taking this risk.  These false expectations that are held high lead those down a less promising road.

 

LA is one of those places often viewed through rose colored glasses.  It’s infamous for making people’s dreams come true, but also for crushing them.  This song sends the right message to all the dreamers about this once hopeful destination.  I believe moving to SoCal is still a viable option, but there should be some precautions taken as for doing anything in life.  As I prepare for graduation, starting a career can seem harrowing, but it’s important to be optimistic about all the opportunities that are possible.  Hammond reaps the truth about it through his own story in It Never Rains in Southern California.  This soft rock tune bundles all the feelings he has about this sunny yet somber place.  He sings about the many burdens there might be for a struggling artist.