Song of the Week: ‘There Will Come Soft Rains’ by Karyn Ann

The Portland singer-songwriter sets the 1918 Sara Teasdale poem to ethereal, playful music.

By Conner Reed October 22, 2021

In 1918, toward the end of the first world war and the beginning of the Spanish Flu, American poet Sara Teasdale wrote a lyric called "There Will Come Soft Rains" that throbbed with disgust and despair even as it harnessed pleasant natural imagery. "Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree, if mankind perished utterly," she wrote. "And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn, would scarcely know that we were gone."

Not exactly an unfamiliar sentiment in 2021. Lana Del Rey has been chronicling our slow-motion apocalypse for years (her just-released new record, Blue Banisters, contains the cheerful concession "If this is the end, I want a boyfriend"), and she's led a long line of recent pop records that find peace in submitting to the wilds of nature. But there's comfort in looking back at Teasdale's words and considering that psychologies might get recycled every century.

Portland singer-songwriter Karyn Ann sure seems to think so. In March, she released a lovely EP called I Am Not Yours, which closes with a musical rendition of "There Will Come Soft Rains," dressed with Ann's earthy voice, some ethereal harmonies, and a faint drone. Her take is almost playful, eliminating the harsher edges from Teasdale's words without cutting out the darkness completely. It feels like a concession to whatever comes, a reminder to dance 'til the world ends.

It's also great for an autumn walk.

Check out the full track below, and the whole EP here:

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