The decade has almost come to an end. And of course, you know what that means-lists, `best ofs’ and all kinds of general retrospective features and columns. Treble is no exception, hard at work on figuring out the best albums and singles of the past nine years. Yet, before we get into albums and singles, we’re taking a look at the best non-single tracks to emerge since the Y2K scare proved to be a non-event. Every week we’ll be highlighting a handful of our favorite tracks of the decade, so keep checking back to hear about what songs remained on repeat on our iPods, CD players, tape decks and turntables since Jan. 1, 2000.
Andrew Bird – “Skin Is, My”
From Andrew Bird and the Mysterious Production of Eggs (Righteous Babe; 2005)
Andrew Bird has a tendency to rework songs from his back catalog from time to time, fleshing them out and taking them from humble songs to beautifully arranged, soaring compositions. “I,” from his album Weather Systems was reworked into Armchair Apocrypha‘s “Imitosis,” and “Skin,” an instrumental from the same 2003 album was reconfigured into “Skin Is, My,” one of the most dazzling and upbeat standouts from his 2005 album The Mysterious Production of Eggs. And while his early, stripped-down versions are beautiful in their own right, “Skin Is, My” is easily the superior version, taking a good idea and expanding it into something absolutely awe-inspiring.
One of a select few instances when Bird lets loose and rocks out, in his own highbrow, elegant way of course, “Skin Is, My” is a high energy tune with elements of rhumba, pulled together in a delicately kickass way that only Bird could pull off. And with the addition of his vocals, Bird converts the tune from a cool melody to an invigorating emotional rush, speaking of a special lady in poetic, abstract and ultimately charming terms: “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’.”
But when the song escalates into its mesmerizing, soaring chorus, Bird seems to echo what the listener is thinking as he croons, “oh, what a lovely sound.” What a lovely sound, indeed.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.