my skin is
white as parchment
drier than a downtown office building
where the air is tight
there's time spent
resting on her bones
waiting for the telephone to ring
ba-ring ba-ring ba-ring . . .
bo-ring bo-ring bo-ring . . .

my skin is
cold as her toes on the bathroom floor
run back to bed and slam the door
oh what a lovely sound
oh how it shakes the ground
oh what a lovely

skin is my
it's the only thing
that doesn't really fly in my land
and love is my love is
it's the only thing that
butterfly in Thailand

let it be printed on every t-shirt in this land
on the finest of cottons and the hippest of brands
in bolder letters than the capital I
it's the only thing it's the only thing
it's the only lonely whoa

my skin is
white as parchment
drier than a downtown office building
where the air is tight
there's time spent
waiting for that
macrame bird of prey
to come down and sing
la-ling la-ling la-ling
oh what a lovely sound




Lyrics submitted by mazetti

Skin Is, My song meanings
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16 Comments

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  • +3
    General Comment"cold as her toes on the bathroom floor
    run back to bed and slam the door"

    I think this is a really good simile. When a lot of other people use similes, they always try to compare the subject with something really extreme, like "hot as the sun," or "cold as the arctic," or something. But very few people have really experienced the cold of the arctic; we simply have the knowledge of how cold it is without actually _knowing_ the coldness of it or what it's like. But I have stepped on a cold bathroom floor barefoot before, and I know what it's like, and that makes the connection in the simile so much stronger for me. It creates its own weird, wonderful sort of imagery.
    It's not that I think it's better or more poetic than other more abstract similes or anything, (I *love* the line "yonder stands your orphan with his gun/crying like a fire in the sun" from Bob Dylan's It's All Over Now, Baby Blue) but I think it connects you to the song more.
    bobwronskion June 02, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is just so good.

    I think it is about who he loves and he wants to shout to the world how great it is.

    "let it be printed on every t-shirt in this land
    on the finest of cottons and the hippest of brands"

    so cute.
    sarcasticSmithon December 18, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSo...this is what I see in these words:

    A guy is basically just talking about how wonderful it is to lay with his lover in bed. Talking about his skin could relate to the intamacy of skin on skin, which is why he's describing it. However, he jumps into talking about his lover. Laying against her bones. Perhaps he has recently applied for jobs, and as he's waiting for the phone to ring, he's laying with his lover, savoring those moments. The door stanza is one of the sweetest things I've heard. The way his lover slamming the bathroom door makes him feel so lovely inside, it's wonderful. Romantic, adorable. When he talks about flying, it could be referring to the old cliche of "butterflies in your stomach." His skin is the only thing that's not flying, meaning everything inside him is, and then he refers to butterflies in Thailand. The T-shirt part could be sort of silly. I think he's actually saying he wants his skin to be printed on every T-shirt, in a sort of ironic, sarcastic way. Like he'd be comfortable in his own skin all the time, everywhere, like he is just then. The end is sort of confusing, 'cause I think the "bird of prey" could be what is tearing him away from his love (the phone ringing, a job in a downtown building?) but he says the la-ling is a lovely sound, so who knows.

    Good song though.
    blueoftheskyon April 08, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it's about being so in love, or being so excited about being in love, the only thing holding you down to earth is your skin. It's like that feeling you get when your skin becomes irrelevant because it is so tangible, and you are consumed by the feelings within. It seems to me like he is in this sort of state, and feels out of sorts in a world that feels still and boring in comparison. He's waiting for something amazing to happen, something that measures up to his feelings.
    SwimmingTrunkson June 04, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe door slamming thing makes me think that the narrator is glad he's able to shut the door and just be alone with his lover and "rest on her bones", part of the gladness of loving someone and/or being with someone.
    tenwordson June 17, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"in bolder letters than the capital I"

    That's a reference to the Sesame Street song ("We All Live In a Capital I") upon which "I" and "Imitosis" are, at least to some extent, based (or rather inspired).

    Considering the egocentric connotations of a capital I (and the bleak, cold selfishness of the worldview in "I" and "Imitosis"), something being bolder than the capital I implies that it is some calling or quality than mere selfishness. It meshes beautifully into this love song (and reconciles or perhaps overpowers the themes of "Imitosis").
    thriggleon December 23, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think Andrew watched too many Olay commercials.... ;)
    myexplodingcaton April 25, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentokay, so this i basically the bebst song ever written...
    well, musically, it heavily borrows off spanish rhumba, but the lyrics are fantastic too
    j.enslowon September 04, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song makes me want to get up and dance like no one is watching! And I agree with sarcasticSmith: that line is absolutely "cute".
    sevenisluckyon January 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPsh, the lyrics could suck completely and I would still listen to this song because it is so damn CATCHY!
    Kudos to Andrew Bird for making a peppy song with violins, that takes special skill. :)
    vlnp89on February 11, 2007   Link

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