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Little Pink Drink

04:31
Bill Sunkel
Bill & Rob Sunkel

Story

DECODING “LITTLE PINK DRINK”

I have a confession to make:  I like me a good Cosmopolitan now and then, even though I am roundly mocked by friends for my “little pink drink.”  For men secure in their own masculinity, however, this is a tasty and surprisingly potent cocktail, much more so than the beer and wine typically swilled by its detractors.  And I make one heck of a fine Cosmo, too:  3 parts Absolut vodka (Mandrin, my preference, or Citron), 2 parts Triple Sec, 1 part Rose’s Lime Juice, and 1 part cranberry juice, shaken with ice, strained and served in a (preferably chilled) martini glass.  Try it.  (If this proves popular, I may start inserting my secret martini recipes in each Decoder©, irrespective of relevance.)  In this story, however, the “little pink drink” in question belongs to the female lead.  (Or does it?)

This song began as a message of indifference:  You can say what you want to say/And you can think what you like to think/You can drown down there, like I care/In your little pink drink.”  I won’t disclose the identity of the individual for whom that message was originally intended, but (as I’ve stated before about other lyrics), I came by it honestly.  The next piece of the puzzle that arrived was the jazzy/cool/sleek/dark/sexy/sleazy instrumental introduction.  And there sat this little song embryo for weeks, until an ambiguous encounter provided inspiration for the (highly fictionalized) tale of two people who meet in a (hypothetical) hotel bar, each utterly indifferent (if not outright hostile) to the other, and their self‑loathing psychosexual journey down a bizarre (but perhaps too familiar) rabbit hole.

In the first verse, we are introduced to the two strangers.  They appear entirely unsuited to one another, yet they still play the game, as if compelled to do so:  You’re a little judgmental/But you’re still flirting anyway/You’re not even quite certain why/My situation is sketchy/My agenda’s unclear/And I am so not your type.”  There is a seamy side to these lines that suits the shadowy nature of the music:  Of all the losers in the whole wide world/Why did it have to be?/What was it about you/That made it about me?”

This lyric is all about atmospherics, and so the second verse continues in a visually descriptive vein:  So now you sit and twirl your hair/Trying to take your measure there/And wondering whether this could be fun.”  She’s sizing him up, he’s sizing her up (and probably sneaking peeks down her blouse), and both are continually angling and recalculating each next move in their creepy little pas de deux.  Maybe, he muses insultingly, she’s just desperate:  “Or perhaps you find you’ve reached that age/When you think it’s time to leave the stage/With the options on your menu down to one” (i.e., him).  And, through it all, he keeps asking himself why, even suspecting at one point that this might be a put-up job:  For every double yellow line we crossed/What was it caused our crash?/Was it a twist of fate/Or someone’s twisted plan?”  The narrator’s tone betrays emotional detachment, a pathology that lets him play the game (even, possibly, to a tragic end) without more than a casual concern for the outcome.  Again, indifference.

The rhythm of the lines in the bridge intensifies, as our two antagonists hurtle towards their inevitable collision, reducing the entire dance to four rushed, breathless lines:  “So we make our introductions, interrogations and seductions/Without one stone left intact/We bare our claws, our teeth, our souls, we turn our tables, roll our bones/With curtains drawn so we don’t reflect.”  These lines contrast the psychological aspects of the encounter (e.g., the “interrogations” that leave no stone unturned) with the physical (e.g., the “roll our bones” image, a triple-pointer referencing gambling, sex and drugs).  The absence of light (“[w]ith curtains drawn”) not only suggests anonymity, but allows a play on “reflect” as both physical reflection of light and self-examination, none of which is happening here.  (Indeed, the willful blindness of our protagonists as well as the violent sexual overtones of this passage are illustrated brilliantly in Greg Miles’ photo, “Girl with the Cellophane Blindfold,” included in my new book.)  The song concludes without resolution, more prurient, voyeuristic peek into a murky corner of the human condition than sermon or cautionary tale.  Draw your own conclusions, guided perhaps by the smudged, dimly-lit “Walk of Shame” aura of the instrumental section (itself a veritable pageant of slithery nocturnal characters, each represented by his or her own unique theme), or the utter desolation of the lonely final line.

I’m going to ramble incoherently for a few sentences here, but frequently I find anger (especially anger at myself) to be a powerful inspiration.  Maybe it’s because it gets me all riled up and sets ideas caroming around inside my skull.  Perhaps it’s just a compulsion to express the anger, or frustration over not having expressed it at an appropriate moment.  Whatever it is, at least for me, conflict and contention serve as far better catalysts for creative expression than calm and contentment.  Basically, when I’m happy, I tend to enjoy it and just “be” (how wonderfully Zen!), and not struggle to capture it in song.  Which is probably why I don’t write very many positive love songs.  So hold that thought . . .

Lyrics

LITTLE PINK DRINK
 
You’re a little judgmental
But you’re still flirting anyway
You’re not even quite certain why
My situation is sketchy
My agenda’s unclear
And I am so not your type
Of all the losers in the whole wide world
Why did it have to be?
What was it about you
That made it about me?
 
You can say what you want to say
And you can think what you like to think
You can drown down there – like I care
In your little pink drink
 
So now you sit and twirl your hair
Trying to take your measure there
And wondering whether this could be fun
Or perhaps you find you’ve reached that age
When you think it’s time to leave the stage
With the options on your menu down to one
For every double yellow line we crossed
What was it caused our crash?
Was it a twist of fate
Or someone’s twisted plan?
 
You can say what you need to say
And you can think what you like to think
Girl, you can drown down there – like I care
In your little pink drink
 
And so we make our introductions
Interrogations and seductions
Without one stone left intact
We bare our claws, our teeth, our souls
We turn our tables, roll our bones
With curtains drawn so we don’t reflect
 
Well, you can play all your stupid games
And you can sink low as you can sink
Hey, you can drown down there – I don’t care . . .
In your little pink drink