Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Pink frost

Credit: Dwyman

Want to stop the crying,
Want to stop the crying,
She's lying there dying,
How can I live when you see what I've done?

Pink Frost - The Chills

Why "Pink Frost?" Why now? Some easy answers: Reviewing 2005 releases so I can compile a best-of list makes me weary of the new. I'm seeking old comforts. The aural equivalent of my dad's worn, frayed Naval Academy sweatshirt and the broken-in flannel pajama bottoms I put on when I want to be comfortable (totally sexy, I know). Then there's the half foot of snow on the ground. And the fact that temps have risen above freezing only twice since the end of November here on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan (and then only for a couple of hours).

"Pink Frost" is an old, familiar friend then. And a troubled one. Would you know it was about an accidental murder, manslaughter, if you didn't listen to the lyrics? I think so. Celebrated for it's otherworldly sound, the guitars don't so much chime as toll. The singing is detached, cool, even mocking with those asides (bye bye bye). The rhythm section--which I've long been convinced is that elusive key to the Dunedin sound--surges forward, chugging just out of reach. It's that split second after you've done something unforgivable and your mind is still reeling with the ramifications, yet events carry on at breathtaking speed. Foiling what could have been untenably oppressive is the drums--light tap and brush work that gives the song its airy spaciousness.

Rumor has it (or maybe it's fact) that Martin Phillips wrote the song after dreaming he had killed his girlfriend. Then there's this: Chills' drummer Martyn Bull died of leukemia in 1983 at age 22, not long after the recording of the song. When it was released in 1984, the band dedicated it to his memory.

So here's the important question: Is "Pink Frost" more about the pink or the frost? The awful mistakes we make (and hopefully no one here has made one as devastating as killing someone) or the living with our mistakes. The terrible ways we hurt other people or the methods we employ to numb our own hearts.

From Kaleidoscope World (US, UK)


Blogger Alexander said...

great song, great writing. what can i say? i never listened to the words. the chills sound is so innocent how could i have ever thought about those dark lyrics? when you can turn mistakes into such a beautiful song, those mistakes seem to be forgiveable in a way. it was just a bad dream, no?

4:16 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Thanks, Alexander. I'm usually faintly dissatisfied with the writing in my posts, but this one I like. Interesting you should call The Chills innocent. Even putting this song aside, I always hear a dark undertow beneath the pop surface.

10:49 PM  
Blogger -tr0y- said...

i like these thoughts and questions amy. i just got around to listening to this song---i like it and want more like it. well done AGAIN

11:41 PM  
Blogger D said...

nice write Amy and good to see someone recognizing this cool track from an excellent band!


7:24 AM  

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