"Pray for Rain" as written by Robert Del Naja, Babatunde Omoroga Adebimpe, Neil Davidge and Grantley Evan Marshall....
In deepest hollow of our minds
A system failure left behind
And their necks crane
As they turn to pray for rain
And their necks crane

Dull residue of what once was
A shattered cloud of swirling doves
And their eyes change
As they learn to see through flames
And their necks crane
As they turn to pray for rain
And their eyes change
As they learn to see through flames
And their necks crane
As they turn to pray for rain

Drops on rocks fall fast and fleeting
Hearts and wings commence to beating
Woods unseen with all believing
Vision walls fall all receding
Vision walls fall all receding

Drops on rocks come fast and fleeting
Rhythm laws unleash their meaning
Usher us into the dreaming
Vision walls fall all receding
Hearts and wings commence to beating
All unending all completing
Vision walls fall fast and fleeting
Vision walls fall all revealing
Vision walls fall all revealing
Vision walls fall all revealing
Vision walls fall all revealing

In deepest hollow of our minds
A system failure left behind
Dull residue of what once was
A shattered cloud of swirling doves
And their eyes changed
As they learned to see through flames
And their necks craned
As they prayed for rain


Lyrics submitted by Robert the Devil

"Pray for Rain" as written by Robert Del Naja Babatunde Omoroga Adebimpe

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Universal Music Publishing Group, Spirit Music Group

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Pray for Rain song meanings
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10 Comments

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  • +4
    Song Meaning
    I thought this song is about the cyclical rise and fall of a civilization.

    deepest hollow of our mind symbolizes the intimate connection between the state of mind of the people and the state of the civilization.

    System failure refers to a past greatness that came to an end.

    Necks craning to pray for rain symbolizes the irrational and strong need for them to turn to something supernatural during dark times.

    Shattered cloud of swirling doves meaning some shattered peace(perhaps peace of mind)

    Eyes changing to see through flame tells of how the people adapted to the testing times

    Third paragraph shows how wishes are slowly granted.
    Hearts and wings commence to beating
    Life starts to seep back into the system

    Woods unseen with all believing (no idea)!

    Vision walls fall all receding
    All hindrance to our ability to understand is receding

    Drops on rocks come fast and fleeting
    Prayer answered

    Rhythm laws unleash their meaning
    The mysteries of the laws governing our environment are unlocked

    Usher us into the dreaming
    The civilization is in a utopian state

    All unending all completing
    The feeling of completeness is seemingly unending

    Vision walls fall all revealing
    All understanding comes to us

    The music that plays here symbolizes this Utopian state

    The last paragraph is what makes the process cyclical. The last paragraph is a mixture of the first and second and is not exactly the same symbolizing the same state reached in a different point in time. (the fall of the civilization)
    ravesinon December 20, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think this song is about something going wrong in the mind, leading the mind to become out of control and having their dreams and hopes lost.

    "and their eyes change to learn to see through flames" could mean that the conscious mind is adapting to the chaos of its subconscious self.

    "and their necks crane as they turn to pray for rain" rain to put out the fire, or the chaos, of the mind. The conscious mind wants relief of whatever is going wrong.

    "drops on rocks fall fast and fleeting" sounds like it's starting to rain and help is coming...

    "hearts and wings commence to beating" sounds like the mind is starting to boot back up again. Dreams are becoming realized and action is taking place.

    Now when it says 'vision walls fall all revealing' it could mean that as the conscious realizes that reality is not as good as he hoped it would be..
    Now I only say that because it restates the 'as their necks crane as they turn to pray for rain' part at the end
    Bjzblueon August 11, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think "the dreaming" refers to Australian Aboriginal mythology. They believe in a higher plane of existence outside of time called the Dreaming, or Dreamtime, and I'm pretty sure it's the destination for shamanic journeys among the Aboriginal people.

    "Learn to see through flames" probably refers to fire scrying, or receiving visions while watching fire.
    bl00dmuffinon March 05, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI think the people who's necks crane have emerged from some catastrophe. A system failure that left behind a deep and lasting impression on the collective psyche.

    The dull residue of what once was is what is left after the event has shattered the living as they confront the world that was once teeming with swirling doves, or life.

    And their eyes change, they see the world differently now that the world they new is no longer a reality. Their new reality brings challenges that they have to learn to overcome.

    A prayer for rain is symbolic of the peoples lost hope that they now need to find a reason to keep living in a world they no longer recognize. The old rules they lived by no longer apply.

    The people find the will to survive and life continues as hearts and wings commence to beating.

    "What's unseen with all believing"

    Again, the people see the world in a completely new way as the world they knew no longer exists.

    Drops on rocks fall fast and fleeting. Could be reinforcing the idea that the people have found hope, a reason to keep living, or it could be that peoples hope is failing fast and slipping away.

    With no system of laws to govern over the people, the more fundamental laws confront them in this new world. Either laws of survival forcing them to do things and behave in ways that never would have been tolerated in the old world, or in this new world we abandon our old way of thinking and turn to a more basic "golden rule" law that usher us into a new world.

    The will to live in the people and the world is a circle of life all unending and all completing.

    The song to me is about hope as we survive the world we once knew and discover a new way to live.
    Bettyforsmuton January 05, 2013   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningI would argue that this song is about horror and the cycle of war and violence, in a general sense. The vibe is incredibly dark...and, well, has a sense of rain to it.

    The first stanza already introduces the listener into a dark song. People strain their necks for rain. I conjure that this could be a few things, but the one in most accord to my argument is that rain is symbolic for violence/bombing. For some reason, I associate this song with WWII a lot. Heligoland is in Germany, and was used in WWII after all -- not to mention that the album cover is horrifying.
    A lot of people were war-mongering for WWII.
    To be fair, rain could also symbolize mourning or loss or a peace/purity, but for my argument I'll go with bombs (to be specific)

    I would assume that residue of "what once was" would be spilled blood, thus violence, and thus war. People learn to see through a perspective of violence as a means to an end, and to survive. The peace breaks.
    Innocent people die -- suffer, and people want revenge. As the rain turns into a storm, "Hearts and wings commence to beating". People become emotionally captivated by "war", whether the feeling is disgust or praise. "Wings" or fighter planes are called to war. In a war, perspective is cut -- people think unclear.

    The unyielding visions of leaders kill all who oppose, crushing them so the vision survives -- so the regime or government survives, until there is only one left.
    All that's left is vengeance, which brings more death.
    I'm not telling you its correct, but I can definitely see this interpretation being incorporated into the lyrics.
    Pulpappleon February 08, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is about the rapture and the people left behind. They learn to see through flames because they are in hell and pray for rain.
    DeepCon August 20, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the line

    "A shattered cloud of swirling doves"

    is actually

    "A shattered cloud of swirling dust"
    acidtonicon May 14, 2014   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationTo me this song describes addiction.

    "In deepest hollows of our minds
    A system failure left behind"

    The way addiction disturbes base of how one's mind functiones - ability to experience joy other than to succumb to more and more destructive urge, which renders one unable to involve in undestructive mutualy benefiting relations, and thus condemns to the life of solitude.

    "And their necks crane
    As they turn to pray for rain"

    How addiction deforms body and will to conform to the only priority - to fulfill the urge.

    "Dull residue of what once was
    A shattered cloud of swirling doves"

    How every moment of sobriety confronts with all the thing lost too addiction.

    "And their eyes change
    As they learn to see through flames"

    How it distorts perception making one see everything through the filter of paranoia, fear and resentment.

    "Drops on rocks fall fast and fleeting
    Hearts and wings commence to beating"

    The satiation of urge is a welcome yet fleeting and somehow violent experience.

    "Woods unseen with all believing
    Vision walls fall all receding
    Vision walls fall all receding"

    "Rhythm laws unleash their meaning
    Usher us into the dreaming"

    The escape from surrounding reality even with psychoactive substances requires effort especially as one gets used to the effect. It takes an act of faith as it's irrational in the light of more and more destructive effects. One creates an air of mysticism around the way one stimulates one's brain to experience euphoria that's harder to come by with each time.

    "All unending all completing
    Vision walls fall fast and fleeting
    Vision walls fall all revealing
    Vision walls fall all revealing
    Vision walls fall all revealing
    Vision walls fall all revealing"

    The euphoria builds up with the repetition and the rising of the music. Fulfilling the urge gives the brief moment of bodily/cranial ecstatic burst represented by vocalized part, only to quickly return to the grim and degrading reality.
    wencon June 09, 2014   Link
  • -1
    General CommentThis is about the beginning of a psychedelic experience and trying to recapture the magic after it seems to have gone.
    Ultranauton November 05, 2010   Link
  • -3
    Song MeaningI think this song is about Massive Attack's relationship with their fans.

    "In deepest hollows of our minds
    A system failure left behind
    Dull residue of what once was
    A shattered cloud of swirling doves"

    Massive Attack was suffering from creative challenges (e.g. it's taken them 7 years to release a new album)

    "And their eyes change
    As they learn to see through flames
    And their necks crane
    As they turn to pray for rain"

    The fans have grown to love the music, and learned to see through "flames" (the logo of Blue Lines)
    Their necks now craned as they "prayed for rain", i.e. wished the band released more music

    "Vision walls fall all receding
    Hearts and wings commence to beating
    All unending, all completing"

    The band feels inspired and moved at last, and begin to produce music once again. Heligoland is the result.

    This song could also be interpreted similarly in connection with any creative/talented person that others depend upon for whatever reason. The person goes through a "system failure" but recovers in the end and begins to benefit others once again.


    artroston March 25, 2010   Link

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