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‘Pink Skies’ by Zach Bryan - Lyrics & Meaning

May 16, 2024 11:14 am GMT
Last Edited May 24, 2024 4:59 pm GMT

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Zach Bryan - ‘Pink Skies’

Official Release Date: May 24th, 2024

Songwriter: Zach Bryan

Producer: Zach Bryan

The Background:

We think it's safe to say it's pretty fun being a Zach Bryan fan.

Rarely a year goes by without at least one full-length project, and he usually throws in an additional handful of singles and an EP for good measure. Then, in-between official releases, the ‘Something in the Orange’ hitmaker takes to his socials to perform new acoustic tracks on what often feels like an almost-daily basis.

These teasers can come and go, with Zach Bryan discarding them to his ever-growing pile of unreleased music, but sometimes, one will strike a particularly resonant chord with fans. One particular snippet, which Zach tantalisingly shared on April 19th, 2024 and was initially dubbed ‘Eulogy’, was a prime example of this.

To fans’ delight, on May 18th, Zach Bryan announced the song - now titled ‘Pink Skies’ - would be the lead single from his forthcoming record, The Great American Bar Scene. Excitingly, the drawn-in, slow-burning track then arrived on May 24th.

Although the teaser didn't land too heavily at first, when Zach posted a second clip on May 3rd, it began to pick up traction across TikTok, with fans praising the song's evocative, stirring portrayal of grief - something Zach is especially adept at exploring in his.

Similarly to fan-favourites ‘Sweet DeAnn’, ‘Dawns’ and ‘November Air’, ‘Pink Skies’ appeared at first to have been written about Zach's late mother, Annette DeAnn, who died in 2016.

He later clarified via X (formerly Twitter) that ‘Pink Skies’ is not about DeAnn, “Pink Skies wasn’t inspired by my story. Everytime I sing about someone dying people assume it’s about my mom, this definitely was not. I just think all the dynamics in families are beautiful and interesting and generationally it’s a really cool thing”.

This enables listeners to give their own meaning to ‘Pink Skies’, making the track all the more relatable and cathartic as fans imagine Zach to be singing about their lost loved ones.

The Sound:

When Zach Bryan shared the original acoustic video, we assumed - and hoped - the final edit would run along similar lines, as Zach tends to keep the production relatively minimal when it comes to cutting the studio renditions of his tracks.

When he dropped the song on May 24th, our predictions were proven accurate. It features the addition of Zach Bryan's trademark harmonic and a driving, energising drum pattern, but even so, ‘Pink Skies’ thankfully retains its intricacy and sparseness on the recorded version, with Zach's melancholic, world-weary vocals meandering despairingly across the gentle, easygoing instrumental.

Watchhouse - a band Zach has regularly expressed his admiration for, even covering them back in 2023 - play the mandolin and provide backing vocals on ‘Pink Skies’.

Despite the despondence he laces into his delivery, the accompanying instrumental feels quietly hopeful and helps to draw out the subtle optimism and peacefulness of lines such as “If you could see 'em now, you'd be proud / But you'd think they's yuppiеs / Your funeral was beautiful / I bet God hеard you coming”.

The Meaning:

“The kids are in town for a funeral
So pack the car and dry your eyes
I know they got plenty of young blood left in 'em
And plenty nights under pink skies
You taught 'em to enjoy”

Zach Bryan begins by describing a funeral that's about to take place, with “the kids” returning to their hometown for it, underlining that the person that's died must be a well-loved figure in the community. “The kids” are presumably the town's younger generation, that have since moved away for college, careers and relationships, with this funeral representing a chance for them to reconnect.

Although Zach, in reality, has been travelling the world, he plays the part here of someone who's remained in town, and watches these fleeting reunions with a sense of wistfulness.

This funeral reminds the protagonist of when he said goodbye to a family-member eight years prior. He addresses the departed directly, reflecting on how they taught “the kids” in the previous lines to live in the moment and enjoy the quietude of a sunset.

“So clean the house, clear the drawers
Mop the floors, stand tall
Like no one's ever been here
Before or at all
And don't you mention all the inches
That are scraped on the doorframe
We all know you tiptoed”
Up to 4'1 back in '08”

A number of fans have zeroed in on these lyrics as the perfect encapsulation of the difficult emotions that arise when having to clear out the belongings of a loved one once they've passed away. Zach muses how this process feels like you're clearing away any trace of their existence from the house, which only exacerbates the grief.

He accentuates the relatability of this verse by referencing a specific memory of a child's measurements being recorded by scratches on the doorframe, a simple yet striking vignette.

“If you could see 'em now, you'd be proud
But you'd think they's yuppiеs
Your funeral was beautiful
I bet God hеard you comin’”

Zach Bryan sings warmly about the kids that have returned to town, assuring the family member they'd be proud of how they grew up. Even so, he jokes that they'd think they're all “yuppies”, a term used in the ‘80s to describe a young, city-living professional.

He offers a powerful line about her own funeral, crooning, “Your funeral was beautiful / I bet God heard you coming”, as a result of the vigour with which the congregation sang throughout the service. He highlights how popular the lost loved one was throughout the town, with Zach bittersweetly remarking God must've been aware they were on their way to Heaven due to the impassioned funeral tributes.

“The kids are in town for a funeral
And the grass all smells the same
As the day you broke your arm swingin’
On that kid out on the river
You bailed him out, never said a thing
About Jesus or the way he's livin’”

Zach Bryan offers a variation of the earlier verse here, accentuating the nostalgia of ‘Pink Skies’ by outlining how the freshly cut grass still carries the same scent it did when the family member broke their arm rescuing a child in the nearby river.

This child could well be Zach, or perhaps just one of the children the person helped in their lifetime, as he mentions in the titular lyric. He praises them for helping the child in the river get out of trouble, without admonishing or judging them for their mistakes.

What has Zach Bryan said about ‘Pink Skies’?

On the eve of its release, the Oklahoma singer-songwriter took to X to highlight some details about ‘Pink Skies’, revealing why Watchhouse are not mentioned in the new song's credits.

In response to a fan asking why the band aren't referenced, Zach shared, “Because I wrote it and produced it! They were going to feature but ended up not. It was just an honor for me in general. was a blessing they said they’d play mando and back up sing”.

Zach went on to confirm that ‘Pink Skies’ was not penned about his mother, “Pink Skies wasn’t inspired by my story. Everytime I sing about someone dying people assume it’s about my mom, this definitely was not. I just think all the dynamics in families are beautiful and interesting and generationally it’s a really cool thing”.

For the full lyrics to Zach Bryan's ‘Pink Skies’, see below:

“The kids are in town for a funeral
So pack the car and dry your eyes
I know they got plenty of young blood left in 'em
And plenty nights under pink skies
You taught 'em to enjoy

So clean the house, clear the drawers
Mop the floors, stand tall
Like no one's ever been here
Before or at all
And don't you mention all the inches
That are scraped on the doorframe
We all know you tiptoed
Up to 4'1 back in '08

If you could see 'em now, you'd be proud
But you'd think they's yuppiеs
Your funeral was beautiful
I bet God hеard you comin’

The kids are in town for a funeral
And the grass all smells the same
As the day you broke your arm swingin’
On that kid out on the river
You bailed him out, never said a thing
About Jesus or the way he's livin’

If you could see 'em now, you'd be proud
But you'd think they's yuppiеs
Your funeral was beautiful
I bet God hеard you comin’

If you could see 'em now, you'd be proud
But you'd think they's yuppiеs
Your funeral was beautiful
I bet God hеard you comin’

The kids are in town for a funeral
So pack the car and dry your eyes
I know they got plenty of young blood left in 'em
And plenty nights under pink skies
You taught 'em to enjoy”

For more on Zach Bryan, see below:

Written by Maxim Mower
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