#95 – “Stormy Pinkness” (1990)
A.S.: Well, dear reader, we apologize for the delay this weekend, but believe or not, L.K. and I lead lives outside of this blog. Well, sort of.
L.K.: Mostly radio-based. Or at least this week that was the case.
A.S.: Yep, it was the week of our radio station’s annual Telethon! So we’ve been busy begging for money and taking phone calls and drinking coffee and sleeping in cars.
L.K.: Pretty much. I didn’t get to go to bed until well after 4 am. I ran into some raccoons while parking. That was exciting. Well, I mean, I didn’t actually run into them. They just stared at me and then left while I was parking.
A.S.: I didn’t really get a good sleep until 10 a.m. this morning! But anyway, that’s basically finished, so let us continue with Song-A-Day. So, uh… LOVE.
L.K.: Ah, good ol’ “Stormy Pinkness”.
A.S.: LOVE. LOVE.
L.K.: So uh, I guess I am going to do this alone. Getting interrupted by love.
A.S.: I love the way Linnell says it – just the emphasis he places on the word, especially to this German audience, who I’m sure are quite confused by the whole thing.
L.K.: The “love version” is actually the first version of this song I heard. It’s at least more interesting than just having them clap, I guess. Why “love” of all words though…
A.S.: It’s just a great one syllable word to say, a word the audience probably knew.
L.K.: Actually, German audiences are probably pretty well-versed in English.
A.S.: Probably much more than we are in German.
L.K.: This might have been harder had they tried it in Japan.
L.K.: But anyway, this song.
A.S.: It’s a lovely little song but I have absolutely no clue what it’s about.
L.K.: Yeah. There are so few lyrics here that it defies complete understanding. It seems sort of sad and wistful, but it’s very impressionistic rather than descriptive. Even the phrase “stormy pinkness” itself…
A.S.: “The things we cherish are small indeed / So much the larger the need” – by far the most coherent segment of the lyrics, but it’s tough to contextualize given the abstraction of the surrounding lyrics. Then again, this is a relatively early TMBG song. We should be used to this.
L.K.: “Forty days this afternoon”… we’ll never know what exactly that is referring to. Ultimately though, I think it’s the sort of song where the exact meaning probably isn’t that relevant.
A.S.: I will say that I was unaware that a Johnny Cup referred to coffee until I visited the wiki page, so that was helpful.
L.K.: Yeah, I was unaware of that as well.
A.S.: And it makes sense, given the Johns’ love of coffee.
L.K.: That used to be one of the more perplexing lines of the song to me.
L.K.: It’s not a phrase I can ever say I’ve encountered anywhere else.
A.S.: Nor have I.
L.K.: Googling it seems to just come up with results for a Christian golf cup/ministry.
A.S.: Maybe it’s a Boston thing?
L.K.: Who knows. We need to find someone from Boston to ask.
A.S.: If anyone has any info, otherwise we can probably get back to you on that at a later date. Also, Flans, this song is in 6/8, not 3/4, which I’m sure he has realized since that 1989 performance.
A.S.: I dunno, again that was from around when the song was still new and fresh, so maybe he didn’t have a chance to think it through yet. Either way, his greater points are correct. You can waltz to “Stormy Pinkness” and a minor is certainly the drunk people’s key.
L.K.: The studio version of this is pretty laid-back.
A.S.: It is, especially with the tremolo effect on the guitar.
L.K.: It lacks the adorable audience connection aspect, but it is still a solid recording.
A.S.: It has a pretty big drum machine sound but aside from that little segment, it has this refreshing, relaxed pace. have fond memories of driving around in Pittsburgh last September to this song. I’m not sure why this of all songs, but it just conjures up Squirrel Hill to me. Maybe it’s just the laid-back nature of the song, like you said wistful, prone to stirring up memories or some bullshit. It’s so chill, dude. It’s got a chill vibe, bruh.
L.K.: I actually worked really hard not to use the word “vibe” after the phrase “laid-back”, but I couldn’t think of an appropriate synonym.
A.S.: I really dislike those words using to describe music. ”Vibe” you can get away with every once in a while, but man, “chill” is not an adjective. That’s just a pet peeve. Do you have any music criticism pet peeves you’d like to share? Or I guess I should say, with regard to terminology, since we’ve already established some of our music criticism pet peeves.
L.K.: I have lots of words I hate in certain contexts (i.e.”sketch” as an adjective), but most of them aren’t related to music.
A.S.: That’s good. No use in getting really frustrated by those small things.
["Stormy Pinkness (Love Version)" starts... right at the beginning of the podcast! Sadly, it lacks Flansburgh's time signature confusion... perhaps that was no accident...]