I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I’d see you again
“Fire and Rain,” the title of the latest episode of Carole & Tuesday, is a heavy song. I’d listened to it many times growing up, but never knew the true context of the song—verses in it refer to James Taylor’s depression, drug addiction, issues with fame, and most tragically, pain after a friend’s suicide. It feels completely out of the place at an episode title of this rather happy-go-lucky anime, one in which the girls use a laundromat as inspiration for a song (creating infectious beats that even the guy doing laundry in between them can’t ignore).
As episode three progressed though, with the girls starting their work with Gus and, with help from Roddy finding an opportunity to meet DJ extraordinaire Ertegun, I began to wonder if the lyrics referred to Gus himself. Roddy literally reads Gus’ Wikipedia article to the girls, which makes him out to be a one-hit wonder manager. And although Gus proudly tells of his association with singers that we can decipher are Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, and Justin Bieber (I’m reminded of how Watanabe liked to play with famous people in Cowboy Bebop, too), it’s apparent that he’s hit rock bottom after failing to repeat his initial success. He’s seen “fire and rain.” He has no friends. But the success he once had—it’s something he plans to see again.
Of course, the late scenes in the series give a different meaning to the episode title. Tuesday, in a fit of anger, literally burns her sheet music in Ertegun’s home when he says she might as well do so, belittling the duo. She throws the burnt pages in the air, and they set off the mansion’s sprinklers. Fire and rain. And once again, the girls are on the run (1).
Which is a-ok, because running away from DJs who purchase A.I. music is more their style than working with one. And despite Gus wanting to leave the fire and rain behind, I think that style suits him as well.
(1) Note that Carole’s name is spelled with the extra “e” at the end, unusual for this day and age. It reminds me of one of James Taylor’s contemporaries, and a friend of his, Carole King, who is also a singer-songwriter who plays the piano, and one who’s place in American music history is significant. Here’s another connection to the episode, though—Carole King played the piano in Taylor’s recording of “Fire and Rain.”