Once the dogs have quit their barking
Son, my neighbour said to me
Know the emptiness of talking blue the same old sheep
Run, I'll do no more this walking
Haunted by a past I just can't see anymore

But let me tell you I never planned
To let go of the hand that has been
Clinging by its thick country skin
To my yellow country teeth
To my yellow country teeth

Far, far away from West Virginia
I will try on New York City
Explaining that the sky holds the wind
The sun rushes in
A child with a shotgun can shoot down honeybees that sting
Oh this boy could use a little sting
All right

Who will get me to a party
Who do I have yet to meet
You, you look a bit like coffee
And you taste a little like me
How can I keep from moving
Now I need a change of scenery
Just listen to me
I won't pretend to understand the movement of the wind
Or the waves in the ocean
Or how like the hours I change softly slowly
Plainly blindly oh me oh my

Lyrics submitted by artblot, edited by smallwonderrobot

"The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth" as written by Lee Sargent Alec Ounsworth


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The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth song meanings
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  • +4
    General Commentas a native west virginia that now lives in new york city i have to say i feel for this song a lot.
    some of the imagery is just so familiar. i am going to have to go with Northernlion that the 4th line is in fact "the same old sheep" not only because it sounds like that is what he is saying, but because WV is filled with sheep.
    The idea of "yellow country teeth" is just so point on because so many people in WV just have poor dental hygiene for a number of reasons, especially in the more rural areas of the state (which is where the imagery that alec gives us seems to take place).
    I really like the idea of getting far away from WV and 'trying new york city' because that is exactly what i wanted to do for a good 18 years of my life and when the chance to get out arose, i grabbed it like a hunter would grab a shotgun.
    that said, the city is so big that it is easy to get lost and lonely here, especially in contrast to WV where everyone seems to know everyone. So i think that is what he is getting at in the last part of the song when he is asking to be taken to a party, because while there certainly is a hell of a lot more to do in the city, if you don't know where to go, you can find yourself in the same problem you had back home where there was NOTHING to do, except that back there at least you know there are no options, whereas the city has so many it can be daunting.

    one more thing, the line about how the sky holds you in seems to hold a duality between WV where the sky is endless and can be seen for miles thus holding you in its absolute expansiveness, in contrast to the city where you can see the sky except for when you look directly up, because there are so many builidings blocking it that at times you can feel like you are in a box.

    those are just my thoughts, though i think we can all agree the song is amazing.
    Hillsonnon December 20, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe singer sounds like a drunk, upbeat julian casablancas.it's wierd
    dakucuruon March 26, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentokay zooeyglass, i don't want to start some online battle, but you have forced me to defend myself.

    I am not from the 'most rural part of WV' by any means. I am from morgantown, if anything, one of the least rural parts of the state. that said, I still stand by what I said.

    everywhere (in reference to sheep) is obviously and exaggeration, but there are still a hell of a lot of sheep, cows, goats, and any other farm animal one could think of. especially, in those rural parts of the state, such as mercer, mcdowell, marion, and preston county. this is how people make there living in places like that. the coal industry is not what it used to be. so while not every square inch of the state is covered in fleece, there is a hell of a lot more sheep in WV than in NYC.

    also, the dental care in WV is horrible. yes there are dentists, but that doesn't mean that everyone goes to them. i encourage you to look at this link:

    which shows that shockingly, WV is number one in the country on loss of teeth. next time before you call someone dumb (especially someone who has had 18 years of experience in a state which you apparently know nothing about), do some research.
    Hillsonnon April 13, 2007   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaningpopmatters.com/music/interviews/…

    One of the tunes off the album, "Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth," about the experience of tackling New York City as an outsider, seems very autobiographical.

    "For that one in particular, I pieced together a couple of my own experiences about how it feels to be displaced, but I projected that on to someone else's story that I knew that moved to New York."

    I think that clears up most of the guesses and confusions. And points to more literal interpretations of their other songs as well. Though the, this album is all about rock history, guy has some interesting thought experiments. I don't think the songs really support that interpretation.
    squanderon June 13, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song sums up the album better than any of the others. What does it mean? I dunno...I rarely do...but I know that this song is the exemplar for this band's sound. And it is indeed quite great. Anyone that loves music must like this song.
    Moses19on October 28, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is their best song. Clap Your Hands...' lyrics are always pretty obtuse, but I think I get this one. It's about a small-town guy who moves to the city. 'Know the emptiness of talking blue the same old sheep', means if he stays where he is he'll just get bored, so he heads off to New York City.
    shanemurphyon December 20, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit took me a while to get used to alec's voice
    but now that i am, i love it
    clap your hands say yeah! is one of the coolest newish groups out there
    this is my favorite song by them
    dr. funkensteinon January 09, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the last few lines sum up this song pretty well.

    I won't pretend to understand the movement of the wind or the waves out in the ocean or how I, like the hours, change softly, slowly, plainly, blindly.
    jessepenceon February 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHow can a voice like that keep anyone so mesmerised? Don't know, but it works for me everytime.
    modemfishon March 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentsoooooooo fun!!!!!
    drowningnoahon March 17, 2006   Link

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