Interpretations:When It Rains It Snows

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Obviously, this isn't the real meaning of the song, but I've noticed that this song has a lot of similarities to the Buce Willis/Jessica Alba story in Sin City. It's snowing durring atleast part of it, there's a demented guy with a smiling, yellow face, Jessica Alba isn't home, but if she were, Bruce would find her there. Those are just a few I can name off the top of my head, but I think it's a cool coincidence. -Cronny

I think the song is about a robber who would see all tehse things if he owned the house or was outside. In the crime scene, several possible suspects are found, and there are enough that he's not caught. - Sangokyu

Surely his crimes go beyond robbery:

"There's a nut with a shotgun: bang bang bang"

He means to murder someone. The detail of the furniture having been barely moved is certainly evocative of a murder scene. What's interesting to me is the perspective of the song. I believe the narrator here is actually the person who has been murdered:

"There's a knock on the door. And if I were at home, they'd find me there."

It's a break-up song that ends up in mass murder, like I'll Sink Manhattan. He sees another guy knocking on his door, and his girlfriend smiling from the window at the guy. When he gets home, he finds the "Dear John" note. Later, he gets a gun and starts gunning down a crowd of people that she happens to be in (she's probably the waitress). Enough people are gunned down that they'll never figure out who was the intended target of the assassination. Don't try this at home. --Nehushtan 21:07, 16 Feb 2006 (CST)

The above makes sense, but what of the title? I think it's a reference to the unexpected. Bacon warrior 23:52, 27 Feb 2006 (CST)
I think that there are firemen and doctors and everything because he goes on his shooting spree at a halloween costume party. Nobody will know who the shooter was when all costumes are removed.--tehbagel ( o ) 13:45, 26 May 2006 (CDT)
The yellow face is probably a SpongeBob custome (for example. Yellow Power Ranger, etc.); ie it's halloween, further reinforcing the fact that he's at a halloween party. The furniture's barely been moved because the cops searched his house. I'm not sure what "when it rains it snows" means. I think it's a reference to somebody TPing his house. When it rains, it snows (TP is white). In this scenario, it could have been actually raining, making the TP stick to the door and house. But it could be a reference to the fact that he is in jail, and semen is white. I'll let you draw your own conclusions from that.--tehbagel ( o ) 07:45, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps the title can be interpreted this way: when it rains (when his life is going this badly) it snows (his heart turns cold -- enough to do this terrible thing) --Nehushtan 21:56, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

See, I've always had a totally different take on the song. I saw the singer as being agorophobic - or afraid to leave a confined area. You start by taking the line "There's a note on the door that I adore" and, rather than seeing it as a note that the singer adores, but rather as a note on a door that the singer adores. In other words, the singer loves the confines of his house and all of the action is being done against the door that he loves.

That established, the singer is coming up with excuses not to leave his home. His first hypothetical is that there might be a knock on the door by a smiling yellow face - something warm and friendly - which he would miss if he was not home. His second hypothetical - the big one - is that someone might leave a note which contains the incomprehensible line "When it rains, it snows" and - had he been home, he would have been able to ask what that means rather than wondering why. He repeats this in the chorus - "'When it rains, it snows,' I wonder why" - to slyly suggest that the listener doesn't know what it means, reinforcing his reasoning to stay home so he can know what it means.

Seeing that what he thought to be obvious logic was failing, he turns to the desperate final hypothetical - a common one among people afraid to leave their house - that someone out there might be a killer waiting for him. He then compounds this twisted logic by saying that anyone could be a nut with a shotgun, making it infinitely dangerous to be around anyone. --JiuNoon 23:32, 3 May 2006 (CDT)

For the most part I agree with Nehushtan's interp. In short, the guy's girlfriend broke up with him, and so he goes and shoots a bunch of people that includes the ex-girlfriend, but nobody knows who the intened target really was.

Rain and snow are both forms of percipitation, and in actuality, snow is just rain that has froze before it fell. Snow is like a harsher rain that has frozen over and won't imediately sink into the ground. 'When it rains, it snows' refers to the guy. The rain is like the tears he would cry over his ex leaving him. The snow, like the rain, represents an unpleasant emotion the guy has, but one stonger and more violent than his sadness. This is the emotion that made him want to murder several people. The guy is a nut with an uncontrolable temper and he overreacts to everything. Therefore, in the guy's case, when it rains, it snows. --Gannabel

What he said. --Nehushtan 16:18, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

I have like this song from the first time I listened to it, and it didn't sound all that depressing to me, it just sounds like a guy at therapy, or something like that. It sounds to me like he thought he was visited by Walmart, so decided to go out, and missed a visitor. The visitor seemed to enter, barely move anything in search of him, and finally leave a note on the door. He doesn't understand it, but he takes it as a fact and maybe a code. After some hesittion, he talks about hearing a shotgun and seeing three people, but they'll never know who without him. Then he avoids the topic by talking about the note again. ~Qz

I think it's pretty funny that people would interpret the "smiling yellow face" as Sponge Bob or the WalMart symbol. This song was written in 1985, when neither of those things existed. The smiling yellow face was a popular icon of the '70's from t-shirts, coffee mugs, etc... It was pretty ubiquitous for a long time. It was often accompanied by the phrase "Have a nice day," as in "Have a nice day/You want it when?" from Snowball in Hell. I guess I'm just old enough to remember all of this, so it changes my own interpretation of that part of the song. You can interpret a song to mean whatever it means to you, so I don't think it's "wrong," but I can say with pretty good certainty that the Johns weren't thinking of Sponge Bob or WalMart when they wrote that line.  :=) --Zeppyfish

I like all the interpretations casting the narrator as a criminal, because when I first heard this song I thought the opposite: the narrator was really the victim of first a burglary, then an injury at the hands of a gun nut - possibly more severe than just an injury, if you want to go a bit further.

In the first verse, I parse "There's a knock at the door that I adore" as him adoring the door instead of the knock, which implies that the house is his own. He's not at home, but someone is outside his window and they're knocking to check whether the house really is empty - which might not be the logical thing to do when planning a burglary, but never mind. The narrator only realises all of this later because he wasn't at home, so he never actually saw the thief and can only picture their face as a generic smiley face. When he does get back, he notices his furniture has been moved slightly ("barely" means still perceptible), but all that's left is a note from the thief as one final touch of humiliation, and he's completely unable to do anything about it.

The song title and chorus are connected to the saying "when it rains, it pours", but the meaning is slightly changed: bad things don't just happen to the narrator all at once, they're also harsher (colder) than what might have happened to somebody else. He wonders why, because there's no obvious reason for it, but in the end he knows it's just random chance.

Later on, he goes out for a meal (that's the only way I can fit the waitress into this interpretation...), but unfortuately runs into some nuts with guns and is shot ("bang bang bang"). The emergency services are called - maybe the gun nuts have also set fire to the place, explaining the fireman - but again, the narrator can't retaliate in any way, because he didn't even manage to see which nut was the one who shot him. When it rains, it snows.

Summary of this interpretation: the song is about helplessness and a guy who's very, very unlucky. ~ blitzente (talk) 16:35, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

I was kind of surprised nobody suggested this yet:[edit | edit source]

I've always thought that the reason there was such a long break between the two halves was because it was supposed to be two different stories entirely.

In the first half, someone comes to visit our irritable narrator. As far as the smiling yellow face goes, the first thing that would come to someone's mind is the Have a Nice Day Smiley, and knowing the Johns, it's not a far stretch to think they were just describing a generic friend. Now, the narrator is dreading coming home. He expects to find a note brutally pinned to his poor door, and his furniture will be slightly out of place, due to his friend hanging around inside. The note he expects would have been written to apologize and be sympathetic to the upset man. The man complains about his situation.

Now the pause comes up, long enough to make you expect a different song.

In the second half, The narrator describes a robbery gone bad or a killing spree. Either way, there's a nut with a shotgun killing people left and right. There are three bangs. The doctor (bang) and waitress (bang) and fireman (bang) are all victims the nut kills before he ends his own life. When the authorities arrive, there's just a pile of bodies, so nobody can be sure who the shooter was in the first place. The narrator complains about the situation in the same fashion as he did in the first half, realizing what it really means to be unfortunate.

The song is about perspective. You can think the world is ending because your friend sat in your favorite chair, but there's always some poor guy on the news who got killed in a shoot up, or got mauled by a bear, or fell off a building or etc.

Of course, It's possible I don't know what the hell I'm talking about.

In the first two verses, the narrator describes the house he has fled: he is not there to answer the door, or check the note, and so on. Either that, or he has locked himself in the house, and "isn't there" in the sense that he has lost his mind. The narrator has committed a (perhaps mass?) murder; he refers to himself in the third person, "a nut with a shotgun," to disguise this. The doctor, waitress, fireman, are all witnesses to the crime, and also suspects ("Enough so they'll never know which one").

The phrase "When it rains it snows" (I keep putting a comma between the "rains" and "it". I feel like it's phrased that way) is ambiguous; the best I can come up with is that when bad happens, everything else just gets weird. The narrator wonders why, and accepts this realization, because hey, he's lived through it; he began the spiral of events from the murder to the reclusiveness or the fleeing of his house. --Lemita 20:18, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Dying thoughts, maybe?[edit | edit source]

I listened to this song a few times and came up with different interpretations each time. Then one of them kind of stuck with me. I read the other interpretations here and I love all of them. Anyway, here's my rather vague idea.

Has anyone ever heard the phrase "when it rains, it snows" as a way of saying it's different for everyone? Even if it's raining where you are, it's snowing somewhere else. I once read a whole novel playing with that idea, using that exact phrase. Guess it kind of stuck it with me through the years.

I think the narrator is a dreamer, and the first verse describes his dreamworld. He adores the door because he adores the world he created for himself, the smiling yellow face is just a figment of his imagination and maybe looks like a generic smiley-face, the furniture has barely been moved because every time he visits his dreamworld he has to create it again. If I asked you to imagine the same thing over and over and over again there would probably be slight differences every time you imagined it. It's a very small difference but it is there, and that's why the furniture has barely been moved. The narrator is not in his dreamworld at the moment, he's just thinking about it, and that's why he's not home and they can't find him.

Another explanation is that it isn't a dreamworld he created, but it's really his home. He adores the door because he adores his home, and the face is just a face because he couldn't choose just one person to be the one knocking. Maybe he has a whole family. He couldn't choose between his kids, his partner, his parents, his best friend or whoever he loves so he has all of them personified in this smiling figure.

The second verse is the situation he's actually in. I see him as one of the victims of a shooting in a restaurant or café, contemplating life and death while dying. He doesn't want to die, he wants to live. Why couldn't someone else be there instead of him? If he had stayed at home, he wouldn't have been shot. Of only someone else could die in his place, maybe someone who's suicidal or whatnot. He's either staring at the other people in the café, the waitress and the doctor and the fireman, or imagining other people who could've died instead.

Another explanation is that he's the only one who has been shot. He's not sure if he's going to survive or not, but the doctor is there and the waitress is the witness. Although I can't really fit the fireman in with this. Did the shooter set something on fire? Is the fireman a witness too? Maybe the narrator accidentally set someone off and the other person snapped, and "when it rains it snows" shows the difference between how they experienced their situation. Maybe he did something he thought of as harmless that the other person reacted strongly against, strongly enough to shoot someone. The note is the embodiment of that thought, how very different things could be. If he hadn't been shot, if the other person hadn't reacted that way, if he'd been at home or any other difference.

Of course, the narrator might not be male, I just chose to go with the male gender because of the male voice. ~ Lone

A man targets another man for murder and things don't go according to plan.[edit | edit source]

I do agree that this song is about a nefarious plot, told through the perspective of the target. I think this song's two parts are describing two stops a man makes on his quest to murder the narrator.

In the first two verses, the attacker goes to the target's house. The attacker knocks, no one answers, he looks through the window, probably wearing a mask, to see if anyone's coming. He enters and searches, but tries not to leave evidence of his intrusion (leaving the furniture in mostly the same place). The attacker does find evidence of where the target has gone, however. When he leaves the house, the attacker leaves behind a note on the door which is not literally a note, but a symbol representing evidence of an intrusion. In the third verse, the attacker finds the target at a restaurant, and blasts him with a shotgun. At this point the target sees a waitress over him (which is why I believe he's at a restaurant), emergency responders (EMT doctor, fireman with a hat), and enough people around so they'll never know who shot him. Before he dies, he realizes that "when it rains it snows."

The phrase "when it rains it snows" is an obvious variation on "when it rain, it pours." It seems like the lyrics suggest the title is more relevant to reality and should replace "when it rains it pours". 'When it rains it pours' means misfortune begets more misfortune, which isn't always true. 'When it rains it snows' implies that when things go bad, they go bad in ways you can't predict, which is true (if you could predict misfortune, you would be able to prevent it). So as it relates to the song:

Things have gone bad for the target, clearly, someone is trying to kill him. The target expects an attack, and this is why he adores the knock. He wishes he had heard the knock, because he could have been hiding in his home and able to kill the attacker. Things went bad however, in a way the target did not expect, and he was caught off-guard, outside the safety of his home, by the attacker and killed. He has learned that "when it rains, it snows," in the second chorus right before he dies.

Things have clearly also gone bad for the attacker, otherwise he wouldn't be carrying out a murder. The target thinks the attacker will never be caught when he laments "there's enough so they'll never know which one". However, the "note on the door" with the title phrase on it is actually fingerprints or some other identifying evidence. The police find the "note" (naturally they investigate the victim's house) and things go bad for the attacker in ways he didn't expect (he gets caught due to what he left behind). Had it actually been a note, it very fittingly "would say 'when it rains it snows'" (very clever word choice there). The attacker too learns that "when it rains, it snows" in the first chorus when he goes to prison.

I think this song is written from the perspective of a woman who had a break up with her husband or boyfriend. The boyfriend turns out to be a psychopath.

"There's a knock at the door that I adore, there's a face at the window a smiling yellow face. There's a knock on the door, and if I were at home they'd find me there."

This means that the boyfriend is stalking the woman. He keeps coming to her house and looking through the window. The woman has also grown used to him knocking on the door, so she just stops answering it.

"The furniture' barely been moved from where it was."

In most crime scenes, the furniture is preserved.

"When it rains it snows I wonder why. And now I know that when it rains it snows."

This line is saying that the unexpected happens, or that things can escalate quickly. It seems to be a warning to the woman. Snow is a more severe or dangerous form of rain. The cryptic phrase did not mean anything to the woman initially, but it had meaning after the woman was murdered.

"There's a nut with a shotgun bang bang bang, there's a doctor, a waitress, a fireman with a hat. There's a nut with a gun, there's enough so they'll never know which one."

This is still written from the perspective of the woman, but she is dead. The woman is one of the victims of the shooting. The man killed so many people, that the police will never know who his intended target was.

-Abcdefghi76543 (talk) 12:04, 27 July 2014 (EDT)

I've always thought of the first verse as the narrator describing his paranoid fantasy that people are breaking into his house and disturbing things, kind of like the paranoia in "Cage And Aquarium". In the second verse, he flips out and shoots a bunch of people... but to me, "a doctor, a waitress, a fireman with a hat" reminded me of, not the victims, but a comical description of a police lineup of suspects. There's enough so they'll never know which one. -- 20:49, 6 September 2015 (EDT)