Well, this isn't much different from the first Play in the Rain lyrically. Musically, it's along the same lines, too, although a little more traditional in that it has less sound effects, and more musical ones... what I mean is, instead of having water splashing as much, the feel of rain is achieved through notes whose rythyms remind one of rain plopping on the ground. I like that kind of effect much better.
Another bonus is that it has a good guitar part at the end....so if you're going to play in the rain with Lindsey, I recommend you opt for part two. Those are the musical differences, now the lyrical one: he adds "Oh, can we love" to his other two verses. Again, I think he's trying to find some good - some love - amidst all the pain of his life. Definitely not a favorite, but next to Part One, it's absolutely terrific!
Your mother would never let you play in the rain...it was forbidden. As an adult, you are considered strange or crazy if you play in the rain. Perhaps, just perhaps, there is more to these two pieces than what meets the ears...
He is asking someone if they can play in the rain...it was forbidden when they were kids, and now as adults, they would be going against convention to play in it, ignoring what anyone else thinks.
Also add the idea that rain could be synonymous with tears. Possibly his, and he is asking this person if they can play despite the rain, despite his sadness. Asking if they can put up with his pain and still be with him.
Part I isn't all that bad musically either. To be sure it is experimental, but I think that it not only reinforces the lyrics, but also nicely sets up Part II (I personally wish that they were put together as one track). There is a lot of fear and suspense in Part I...a lot of doubt and maybe hopelessness and the way the lyrics are sung, it is almost confessional.
Part II kicks in melodically if not powerfully. There is a lot of passion and anger both vocally and instrumentally. Very confident. Perhaps he got to play in the rain.
Rain and the sea seem to mean something to both Lindsey and Stevie (see Trouble in Shangri-La, Crystal, Outside the Rain, Dreams, Surrender the Rain) like the way they both keep referring to "night" in their songs.
Water is in nature, it is in us, but people have drowned in it. So in that sense it makes us similar to the world around us but when it isn't under our control it can be fatal. I think this image is appropriate for how Lindsey looks at himself. The depth of his emotions is what makes his music so good. Like the water they are natural and thus have the limitless energy that nature has. But their strength could consume him and make him go insane (hehehe) unless he keeps them under his control. What makes him special is what can hurt him the most and I think he knows that and this makes him frustrated and lonely.
So then why does he want to "play in the rain"? I think the only time he was able to do so and not feel alone was when he was with Stevie. She shared the spiritual depth that put her in the "rain" as well, and then they saw each other. So where he had been "lonely" and "crying" he no longer felt alone or sad. But neither one could give up their control which kept them from being consumed by the "rain" and the anger and hurt he feels at having lost having her in the "rain" comes through in the second part of Playing in the Rain. I think the first part of the song is softer because it is representing the time when he was with Stevie. I know this album is dedicated to Carol Ann, but I think the fact that it is in two parts (like You and I Parts I,II) signifies these emotions over time, time that he had not had with Carol Ann.