1.14.2009

The Chills - "Pink Frost"



With a good amount of standing snow on the ground here for the first time this year it seems wholly appropriate to listen to, and discuss, the best snow-related song that I can think of, "Pink Frost" by The Chills.

Have you ever done or said something on the spur of the moment, without giving any forethought to what you are about to do or what the consequences might be? Everybody has, and the story that "Pink Frost" tells is of the aftermath of one of these moments. However, in this case the stakes are somewhat raised, as the protagonist has just killed his girlfriend (I thought I was dreaming/ So I didn't hear her screaming). The pink frost of the title refers to the girl's blood mixing with the snow on the ground. Not exactly an "oops, my bad" moment.

We never learn how this all went down though. Instead, the song finds the protagonist, who is no Raskolnikov, coping with his immediate sorrow and remorse for the act he has just committed (I want to stop my crying/ But she's lying there dying/ How can I live when you see what I've done?). Sometimes an angle like this could be used to try and make you empathize with both the victim and the perpetrator. But, in this case, due to Martin Phillips' icy cold delivery you don't really sense that that is the point.

What you do feel though, probably as a result of the cold, distant, atmospheric qualities of the music, is this detached sensation like you're floating directly above the scene of the crime, like you are watching the aftermath unfold. In this way the music tells as much, if not more, of the story as the lyrics do. It is the music that gives the somewhat simple lyrics their weightiness. It is the music that connects the listener to the emotions of the protagonist. It is the music that leaves a lasting, and unforgettable, impression.
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