Friday, May 25, 2007

"cold milk bottle," from sweden

the thing i realized about "cold milk bottle" is that it's not just another spurned lover song (though it might be). but i really have no idea who the narrator is bracing for when he yelps "another goddamn message from you." it could be a friend or a parent or i don't even know what.

but it's another danielle song where someone sounds EMPOWERED in the face of something terrible, which i always find funny and touching and, this morning, confrontational: for the first time, i'm hearing this song as directed at me (usually, i give myself the privilege of role-playing the oppressed narrator). maybe the jazz standard line he nicks--"you're mean to me, why must you be mean to me? you shouldn't forget, you see, what you mean to me"--is landing a little too close to home. saving grace is that he makes it into a sweet vocal hook, which--here he goes cuddling up to pain again--makes it all pink and touchable. freed again!

4 comments:

Bill said...

you don't see the abstaract reference to God (or larger, greater power)? The pre-"message" natural imagery lend credence to a more worldy force acting on this person. This, to me, hightens the empowerment you write about.

mp said...

wow, that's kind of an amazing perspective i hadn't considered. i guess i get so wrapped up in the domesticity and interpersonal trauma of his songs, even when they're "religious"--like "against pollution," from we shall all be healed--that i don't even stop and think as to whether or not he's addressing an abstraction.

huh.

well, listening to it again now, i see how it could just be a song about THE WORLD (and it'd be amazing either way), but i sorta feel like that would be so uncharacteristic for him. or, i guess i always think of him as a microcosmic writer, and that's sorta what gives him his power.

but i'm glad you said that! it's always good to hear something in a totally new way.

citizenwray said...

it was always interesting to me, the message scrawled on the liner notes to zopilote machine: "kid you fell in the milk" and it's relation to the milk of human kindness, 'cold milk bottle' and the way those three things may (or, hell, may not) be related. just a thought. an odd strand, a stretch, maybe, for me to assume it starts at ZM and picks up with sweden. any other milk references in darnielle's catalogue i'm missing? worth a thought, and to me lends itself wholly to the abstraction of bills interpretation, which is pretty married to my own. i never thought of the song as a railing against a lover, but against everything, god, the universe, shiva, david hasselhoff, what have you.

mp said...

my narrowness of interpretation probably had more to do with how i was feeling that day than anything else. so this blog goes. but yeah, i definitely think you--and bill--are right about the scope of the song. i'll have to think more on the meaning of milk--i feel like it's kinda superfluous to the song's impact. maybe not. but thanks for keeping me thinking!