Interpretations:The Day

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Interpretation 1[edit]

I always wondered if this this song grew out of a music review referring to the artists sound as a "marriage of Marvin Gaye and Phil Ochs." Just a theory. --TVsKyle 00:07, August 4, 2004

Perhaps. It would be nice to know what band was being referenced, though (obviously not TMBG). Maybe it's just about the "marriage" of soul and folk music in general, or even of "black" and "white" music. The song has always struck me as hippie-ish. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Vovat (talkcontribs) 21:43, August 4, 2004

Interpretation 2[edit]

Marvin Gaye and Phil Ochs were both known for their left-leaning protest and anti-war songs. Of course, songwriters protesting war hasn't seemed to stop wars. I think the song is a laugh at the hapless folk/hippie dream -- "We can change the world with our music!" --Nehushtan 23:29, 16 Mar 2006 (CST)

  • So I'm about 12 years late on this, but I think this song is really poignant through that lens. The notion of "happiness bleeding from every street corner" and "biplanes bombing with fluffy pillows" seems to depict that the senseless carnage is still going on, while people are continuing to pretend that singing will fix everything. It reminds me of this Kurt Vonnegut quote: “During the Vietnam War, every respectable artist in this country was against the war. It was like a laser beam. We were all aimed in the same direction. The power of this weapon turns out to be that of a custard pie dropped from a stepladder six feet high.” -- 11:23, 25 April 2018 (EDT)

AlienGirl's Mystery School interpretation[edit]

The "marriage" is an ironic reference to death. Incidentally, this is the song that got me to listen to Phil Ochs; he was really good. --AlienGirl 02:56, June 28, 2006

Interpretation 4[edit]

I for one always thought this was one of their songs that's just more random and strange. It's a great mental image, this gay (in both senses) wedding with tons of happiness and biplanes, apparently. I'm probably wrong, but I still like my interpretation (or lack thereof, perhaps). ~Anna Ng: The Only TMBG Fan In Her Class 22:15, September 10, 2006

Interpretation 5[edit]

marvin gaye was murdered by his father after moving in with him to kick his cocaine addiction. his father didnt quite approve of his life style and after a heated argument he murdered that boy. --tjbg 23:51, October 12, 2006

And Ochs having seen his idealistic dreams dashed, took a half-decade-long slide into obscurity, depression and mental instability, at the end of which, he took his own life.... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:14, November 13, 2006

Interpretation 6[edit]

TMBG covered Ochs' "One More Parade" for an Elektra anniversary collection (they were each on the label, 25 years apart). You can find the promotional video on YouTube, along with Ochs' original. I suppose "The Day" is a celebration of the joy that can come from two great minds joining together. Or it's a deliberately odd piece, which I wouldn't put beyond the Johns. -- 18:20, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

Interpretation 7[edit]

One thing I find striking about this song is its depiction of a ridiculously happy world brought about by the marriage of these two peaceful-minded singers. First, we have a cartoonish image of anthropomorphic trees waving "their giant arms," suggesting that even Mother Nature approves of the union. Then we are told that "happiness bled from every street corner." The news has spread to all directions, then, and bloodshed has been replaced by happiness. Finally, we have a simple, classic image of peach on earth: "biplanes bombed with fluffy pillows." The planes overhead have stopped dropping bombs and are instead "bombing" us with soft, harmless pillows, their power to kill and destroy taken away. The instruments of war have been neutralized. (Biplanes were used in WWI.)

I think it's significant that this short verse is performed twice. The first time through, Flansburgh sings it solo, sounding rather innocent and childlike as if he believes this scenario could come true. The second time through, Linnell joins him and the singing is much more raucous. It sounds like the Johns have gotten drunk and are singing this song (now rendered a mere pipe dream) at a bar somewhere.

On another message board, I read that TMBG recorded "One More Parade" as a way of atoning for this song. I wonder if that's true. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:22, August 10, 2011

Mad Libs[edit]

That's my best theory.

The day [celebrity] and [celebrity] got married the [plural noun] all waved their [adjective] [body part]...

And happiness [verb] from every [place], and [vehicle] [verb] with [adjective] [noun]. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:47, May 2, 2012

Interpretation 9[edit]

I've always thought of the marriage of these two to be a hypothetical analogy for the marriage of their ideas and styles. Every description seems to be a sort of oxymoron pairing dark, depressing kinds of stuff (Ochs) and the bright cheerful happy stuff (Gaye). Happiness/bleeding, bombing/fluffy pillows. Giant trees aren't exactly dark, but they're ominous enough. So every description embodies the kind of paradox that would exist in a marriage of Ochs and Gaye. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:36, July 24, 2012

War and the Power of Music[edit]

I think this song is about the power of music to help change the popular opinion, which in turn can modify policy. It's sort of the exact opposite interpretation that Nehushtan came up with. These two advocates for peace created powerful music and while the song doesn't explicitly list any other artists, the progenies of these two artists can be included as well. All of these musical powers for peace can have an impact on policy and eventually bring about even a small amount of reform. --NoodleGuy (talk) 14:38, 21 January 2014 (EST)

Gay marriage[edit]

I like this song. It supports gay marriage and Gaye marriage.

Flansburgh doubled[edit]

Just a slight correction to Interpretation 7.

The second time through we hear Flansburgh doubled, not joined by Linnell. He did multiple takes and two were combined for the reprise.

The Marriage of Contrasts[edit]

My take on this song is that it's thematically similar to "XTC vs. Adam Ant". In that song it's a contest, but here it's a union between two artists who have fairly distinct but appealing musical styles. What I hear in Phil Ochs is a lyrically dense folk style with overt, witty, sometimes ironic political messages, whereas Marvin Gaye's music strikes me as more lush, beautiful, its messages as much emotional and spiritual as political. And the song, for me, is about how thrilling it would be to somehow combine these two, cerebral folk with spiritual soul, into something weird but also weirdly perfect.

Reinforcing this reading for me is that when I first heard Phil Ochs' music I thought he sounded a LOT like Linnell, definitely vocally but also somewhat in the wordiness of the lyrics. Whereas what Flans does, broadly and relatively speaking, has always struck me as more influenced by midcentury jazz, easy listening, lounge, R&B, and soul. Though the two of them have explored a lot of different styles since 1986, it doesn't seem completely bonkers to me to speculate that, at the time, they might have thought of their music (or had it described) as "a cross between Marvin Gaye and Phil Ochs."

Xtant (talk) 17:22, 9 December 2022 (EST)