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Every once in a while, I get addicted to a song, and almost can't bring myself to listen to anything else. (Revolution is My Name, Electric Eye Peace Sells for example.) Rainbow in the Dark is more than that. This song is more than any passing interest, it is an incredible rock masterpiece. I really can't sum it up better than that.
Rainbow in the Dark starts out with a huge, epic guitar chord that flies in the face of pop-hook convention. Then it bursts into an intricate riff, and a keyboard line that you will be humming later on, guaranteed. Dio's vocals kick in soon enough, and his voice, as many loyal metal fans know, is enough to induce eargasms within a square mile. The lyrics have been considered cheesy by many more "brutal" metalheads, but they have a rather charming camp that I really can't help but enjoy. The chorus is great, and may likely have you singing along by the end. The solo blazes like all Hell, one of the best ever penned.
Gypsy isn't as good, but it has the unfortunate curse of being after the song Holy Diver (on the album of the same name) and Rainbow in the Dark (in the single version of that song). It really is underrated, and never had a chance to shine being outweighed by those two superior songs The lyrics are a little repetitive, but the riff is great, and of course Dio's voice could carry any song. Ultimately, not to be overseen.
So that's my review of Rainbow in the Dark, I can't recommend that song enough. However, I advise you to buy the entire Holy Diver album, because it really is an incredible masterwork. Don't miss out on all the other underrated gems.
Among the more offensive charges that can be levied against any artist with a sense of pride is the notion that they’ve created a work of “pop art”. This isn’t something that is necessarily unique to metal music, as many psychedelic bands from the 60s and hard rockers from the 70s would also shutter at being lumped in with what is now considered pop music today. But upon closer review, pop music is something of a misnomer as a genre that seems to only be consistent in its application to songs that are popular. There’s really no other way to categorically explain how Miley Cirus gets off giving the horns to her audience when comparing her teeny bopper bubble gum music with the man who originally popularized the hand gesticulation. Such is the predicament that Dio’s “Rainbow In The Dark” suffers from as it copes with comparisons to various pop/rock hits that were continually churned out by the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll wing of the NWOBHM and the emergent L.A. glam scene.
In spite of the rather grim implications of even entertaining a comparison between any of Dio’s fine creations and pop music, it is a situation that is virtually unavoidable. Amidst the incredibly repetitive, spacey synthesizer melody that probably inspired Europe’s “The Final Countdown”, a really infectious main riff with a heavy usage of scream harmonics that probably inspired Zakk Wylde’s style of playing, things just can’t help but scream “play me!!!” to the radio stations. It’s heavy, Ronnie’s vocal delivery is hard edged and doesn’t skip up on a really gravely bite, but it’s the sort of song that anyone can sing along with and smile at, regardless of the poetic lyrical themes that probably continue to fly over the heads of most of the morons populating Blender Magazine and Rolling Stone. Like its name suggests, it is a song that sleeps snuggly within a highly noble contradiction, a heavy metal anthem that both suit wearers and leather toting rebels can appreciate.
While the a-side definitely stands as one of the best known songs in Dio’s repertoire, the accompanying song “Gypsy” does well to display the versatility of this band going back to its infancy. Some parallels could be drawn between it and the more rock based songs on “Mob Rules”, particularly that of “Slipping Away” and “Voodoo”, relying on a singular riff to drive most of the song and provide the foundation upon which Dio builds castles with his towering voice. Barring perhaps “Stand Up And Shout”, this is among the rawest and most aggressive of Dio’s vocal offerings. While perhaps not quite up to the task of dominating the airwaves as the title song of this single, this song could just as easily enjoy regular radio play amidst the slew of older metal songs from “The Trooper” to “Wild Child” that rock radio occasionally dabbles with of late.
Although the enmity that exists between pop music and metal will likely never be reconciled, one could stop just slightly short of attributing that reconciliation to this song. Dio himself was toying with disowning the song after its recent birth due to its bare simplicity and somewhat pop-like nature (due in good part to the quirky keyboard part), but thankfully it became a staple of his universal appeal. Some may call such a notion the anatomy of a sellout, but by the same token, the makings of a conversion away from the dull, artificially sweetened mainstream to something with more depth can be taken from this song, and I can testify that this song played a role in my abandonment of the pop/rock craze of the early 90s that Nirvana and Pearl Jam ushered in. Thank God, and indeed, thank Dio for “Rainbow In The Dark”.
This is by far the best single I have ever heard (or probably will ever with Dio's recent passing). This album basically sums up why Dio is such an iconic and brilliant musician.
Rainbow In the Dark, although originally deemed by Dio himself to be "too pop", is now considered one of the hallmarks of classic metal. It starts off with a wonderful little keyboard riff and heads into a powerful guitar riff and the similarly powerful vocals Dio is best known for. Just the first line of "When there's lightning..." sends a shiver down my spine with just how kick-ass he sounds. Following two verses of pure metal, we get an insane solo by Campbell. Its speed and intensity just blow me away every time I hear it. It then goes into the third and final verse, and, when it climaxes, you swear the world will end due to an overload of godly sounds.
Gypsy is basically just a great 80's hard rock song. It's got a nice riff to it, a fast solo, and vocals that could tear through steel. Although it is not as good as Rainbow In the Dark, they balance each other out quite well.
Anyway, I recommend this album to literally anyone. Go out, buy it, and then rock out for the rest of your days.
Perfect Pop Singles: Vol. 14
Why It’s Perfect: Ah, to be adolescent again. I’m convinced that the reason traditional heavy metal so appealed to me at this age wasn’t because it spoke of power and confidence I’d never have, or because it made me different from my peers or any of that other rot. Sure, it’s loud and aggressive, but loudness and aggressiveness are qualities expressed in the performance. It’s texture, like biting into a crunchy cookie. The songs themselves are often quite tasty, with a geeky-gothic slant to their melodies well known to fantasy nerds and videogamers. The much missed Ronnie James Dio’s Rainbow in the Dark is about the best example I know of moat metal with this confectionary blend down pat. First, take the goofiest patch on your keyboard and (badly) play a ridiculous lilting renaissance lick. Double it with huge driving guitars (abusing pinch harmonics), add caveman percussion, sprinkle sub-Tolkien fantasy lyrics and mix at a reasonably brisk tempo. It’s a generic recipe, and one much inclined toward tedium, but Ronnie had a way of elevating this stuff with cheerful alacrity. Yes, he’s got that majestic growl and a dreamy-eyed croon to match it, but any number of (mostly Italian) singers can capably imitate it these days. Ronnie was different because his genuine pleasure to be making fantastic metal came through in the passion and craftsmanship he always brought to his work.
Rainbow in the Dark is one of those times his effort was rewarded with a stellar product. His lyrics are his usual potpourri of clichés, rhymes for rhyme’s sake and oblique references, and they become downright hilarious when you consider that they’re about Ronnie leaving Black Sabbath, but AAAANNNNYWAY he delivers them with awesome spirit, ringing high and clear as often as he does low and testicular (by the way, you knew Ronnie was phoning it in a bit whenever he just roared through a track instead of using his entire vocal repertoire intelligently) . Perennially disgruntled guitarist Vivian Campbell responded with some of his best ever axework, hitting every baroque angle of the riff and then sending out showers of sparks throughout his flashy solo. And that freakin’ keyboard lick, bashed out by Ronnie himself, is the very definition of metal’s camp appeal. There isn’t a moment of intentional irony in Rainbow in the Dark, much as was the case with Ronnie himself as a musician. He was always sincere about making powerful, encouraging and above all fun music for his beloved fans. And ‘fun’ is what Rainbow in the Dark is, fun like Dr. Feelgood or even The Girls Just Wanna Have Fun is for people who think slaying goblins and casting spells would be more fun than getting drunk in a nightclub. It’s perfect pop for unpop people. Thanks for it, Ronnie.
Defining Moment: “LIKE A RAINBOW” [pause] *dinky keyboard riff* “LIKE A RAINBOW IN THE DARK” [pause] *dinky keyboard riff* “YEEEEEEEEEAAAAHHHHHH”
I agree with that sentiment.
Other Great Songs by Dio: Ronnie had, arguably, the longest apex period of any single metal musician. From 1976, when his band Rainbow released Rising to 1983’s solo Holy Diver, he was unstoppable. Much of what came to define metal was created in part by Dio’s various ventures. Singles like Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll (Rainbow), Die Young (Black Sabbath) and The Last in Line (solo) solidified his credentials, while album tracks like Rainbow’s magnificent Kill the King and Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell became FM radio staples. If you want some traditional metal, there’s much to gorge on here.
For previous instalments in this series:
An interesting thing to note about Dio, is that unlike many metal bands of this era, who were obsessed with appearing as badasses, Dio appeared as a more realistic figure. It's rare you'll ever hear Dio sing about Satan, or sing about how great metal is, or about war and civil injustice. Dio instead focused on real emotions and the things that really kept him up at night. He hid these true feelings behind metaphors which were truly genius, so that the more articulate fans could pick out the real meaning, but the more typical headbangers could think his songs were really about dragons and the devil.
The whole album is filled with these genius metaphors, but the best example of it would have to be the second-to-last track, "Rainbow in the Dark". Here, Dio sings about how alone and torn he felt after having been kicked out of Black Sabbath in favor of Ian Gillan. It's an extremly emotional track and a true masterpiece as it (at least to me) feels like it was written for you. It's like you confessed your feelings to Dio, so he's saying "Dude, it's all going to be alright". The keyboards add to this greatly, opening with one of the most memorable keyboard intros metal has ever had.
Overall, this is a great track from a great artist, on a classic album. Of all of the metal ballads, I think this is my favourite (even above "Fade to Black"). I suggest you buy this song's respective album as soon as possible if you don't own it already.
First of all, Dio is one of the most innovative, and recognized metal icons the world has ever known.
Gypsy: An excellent rocking song, along the vein of ACDC's Back in Black. A good riff, but the lyrics are not as good as some of the other songs that are on the full length, notably the title track, and lyrically probably one of my favorite tracks on Holy Diver; Don't Talk To Strangers. The solo isn't as good as it probably could've been, there really isn't much to this song, it's just a rockin' early 80's metal song.
Rainbow in the Dark: This is one of my all-time favorite metal songs ever. It's the epitome of metal; the killer riff...the amazing vocals, the synth. The amazing solo in the middle of the song. There is nothing lacking in this song. I bang my neck to this song so hard. Just when each verse starts and there's that pause....and then WHAM! the crash of the symbols, the breakdown on the drums....and then that riff starts all over again, and it's just perfect. The song crescendos to a shredding riff about 3 minutes in, and then a reprise of the first verse with a little more gusto....the song climaxes, and when begins to fade out.........it leaves any normal metal maniac scrambling for the rewind button to hear that amazing, fucking kick-ass song again!
"Rainbow in the Dark" is - apart from the title track - one of Dio's best-known songs and rightfully so.
The famous keyboard line in the chorus is not loved by everyone, the main reason for it being too loud that it buries the nice guitar riffs quite a bit. I'm not all that picky though, so to this fits just fine, since the whole "Holy Diver" album did mainly focus on Dio's fantastic vocals. Still, while the riffs themselves are memorable, I'd like to see them put in the foreground a bit more, since they are well written and so is the nifty solo-section - courtesy of Vivian Campbell.
For many, the Holy Diver - The Last In Line era was Dio's peak vocal-wise and I can see that right away (even though I do prefer him in Black Sabbath's "Dehumanizer") as he belts out some great vocal lines here, especially the chorus part does stick with you after the second or third listen.
The only thing this single (the album it was taken from as well) suffers from is the somewhat aged production. I'd love to hear this not only remastered, but re-recorded since it would bring out the songs strengths even more.
Long story cut short, Dio's single "Rainbow in the Dark" is a very good classic Heavy Metal track and even though some hardcore fans overrate it beyond belief, it is definitely worth checking out.