NPR logo Grim Ingredients Form a Winsome, Pretty Package

Grim Ingredients Form a Winsome, Pretty Package


  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

On "Handkerchiefs," Winterpills' members make mournfulness sound sweet and soothing. hide caption

toggle caption

Friday's Pick

  • Song: "Handkerchiefs"
  • Artist: Winterpills
  • CD: The Light Divides
  • Genre: Pop

Some songs have all the hallmarks of bleak dirges — themes of death and alienation, mournful harmonies, deliberate pacing, a touch of slide guitar — but an overall effect that seems strangely uplifting. Witness Winterpills' "Handkerchiefs," which stuffs all those grim ingredients into a winsomely pretty package that feels strangely sparkly, even downright lilting.

Matching the ideally matched girl-boy vocals of Flora Reed and Philip Price, "Handkerchiefs" isn't exactly the stuff of summer drives and beach parties: "A great divide / I didn't know her best friend died," the pair sings, adding, "Drawn in black-light chalk / her ankles tied in flower stalks." But the song gathers steam and snappiness as it progresses, morphing into an agreeably ambling pop number. It may bathe in pathos along the way, but it comes out smelling like spring flowers.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

Purchase Featured Music

Buy Featured Music

Light Divides
Signature Sound

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?