- The Green Pajamas, The Red Red Rose EP
"One January afternoon / they killed you in your school clothes / as sure as winter's cruel hands clutch and kill the red red rose". This is heavy stuff, with the band playing heavy to match. It has the air of an old British folk tale, as does much of the Green Pajamas' music, but also could be ripped from the headlines. (And was, actually - the title track is song written for Phoebe Prince.) The other songs are lighter in sound, more melodic, but just as focused on tragedy. The theme that arises is a sense of loss - be it a loss of innocence, on "Little Dreams" ("she lost her little dreams along the way") or the empty feeling you have living with the knowledge that someone you loved is gone forever ("Just Another Perfect Day"). That song is a strong piano ballad describing a picture-perfect day, and the feeling that even the most perfect day will never again be perfect. The opening line hits hard: "Blue blue / the sky is very blue today / I don't think I feel that way."
The final song on the EP hits me hardest, though. In it, the tragedy is global, societal. Set in a time of war and uncertainty -- could be our time or so many from the past -- it's a parent's song of worry for what the future holds for his child, almost an apology for bringing someone into such a messed-up world, but also a statement of absolute love, in the face of possible annihilation. So tender and brutal, the way Jeff Kelly sings, "I want to hold you for forever / if forever comes."