Readers first met Finnish Lumikki Andersson in the novel, As Red as Blood, when a bag of blood-soaked money led her on a dangerous mission. Now Lumikki is on vacation in Prague, pleased with her cherished solitude, the gorgeous view before her, and the sound of Shirley Manson’s voice as she sings about dark skies and rain. Then a strange girl appears, the same strange girl that Lumikki has seen at several other tourist locations in Prague. Much to Lumikki’s annoyance, the girl approaches. Everything changes when she speaks, however, telling Lumikki: “I think you’re my sister.”
The Shirley Manson song is “Only Happy When It Rains,” recorded in the mid-nineties by Manson and her band, Garbage. The song came together as the band sat around playing acoustic guitars, building on the lyric, “I’m only happy when it rains.” In a 1995 interview with Addicted to Noise (an early online music magazine,) guitarist Steve Marker explained:
It’s really just us poking fun of ourselves… We’re poking fun at the alternatrock angst, wearing your heart on your sleeve thing and at ourselves for writing such dark songs.
The video emphasizes the conscious mimicry of strange and dark themes so prevalent in alternative rock, combined with Garbage’s sly sense of fun.
Diane Colson, currently reading Still Waters by Ash Parsons.