Coconut Skins – Peeling Back the Layers of Life’s Paradoxes


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Damien Rice's Coconut Skins at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. Vulnerability Unveiled: An Emotional Strip-Tease
  5. The Paralysis of Indecision: Life’s Waiting Game
  6. The Irreverent Chorus: ‘Licking Coconut Skins’
  7. The Search for the Soul: An Exercise in Futility?
  8. The Hidden Poignancy: Compost, Coal, and Contagious Time

Lyrics

You can hold her hand
And show her how you cry
Explain to her your weakness so she understands
And then roll over and die

You can brave decisions
Before you crumble up inside
Spend your time asking everyone else’s permission
Then run away and hide

You can sit on chimneys
With some fire up your ass
No need to know what you’re doing or waiting for
But if ever anyone should ask

Tell them I’ve been licking coconut skins
And we’ve been hanging out
Tell them God just dropped by to forgive our sins
And relieve us our doubt

Lalala, lala, lala
Lalala, lala, lala
Lalala, lala, lala, lalalala
Lalala, lala, lala

Oh, you can hold her eggs
But your basket has a hole
You can lie between her legs and go looking for
Tell her you’re searching for her soul

You can wait for ages
Watch your compost turn to coal
Time is contagious
Everybody’s getting old

So you can sit on chimneys
With some fire up your ass
No need to know what you’re doing or looking for
But if ever anyone should ask

Tell them I’ve been cooking coconut skins
And we’ve been hanging out
Tell them God just dropped by to forgive our sins
And relieve us our doubt

Lalala, lala, lala
Lalala, lala, lala
Lalala, lala, lala, lalalala
Lalala, lala, lala

Lalala, lala, lala
Lalala, lala, lala
Lalala, lala, lala, lalalala
Lalala, lala, lala

Full Lyrics

Damien Rice’s ‘Coconut Skins’ is a song that weaves through the complex tapestry of the human experience with the deftness of a seasoned storyteller. At first listen, its jaunty rhythm and whimsical lyrics paint a picture that appears deceptively simple. Yet, upon closer inspection, it becomes evident that Rice is challenging us to look beneath the surface of our daily interactions and the facades we all wear.

Encased within its folksy melody and Rice’s raspy delivery lie introspective themes that resonate with the core of existential questioning. The song thrums with a philosophical heartbeat, questioning the norms of vulnerability, decision-making, and the relentless quest for purpose in an ephemeral world. Each verse peels back another layer of the human condition, offering a multi-faceted look at our collective struggle with authenticity, regret, and redemption.

Vulnerability Unveiled: An Emotional Strip-Tease

The opening lines set the stage for a confessional narrative. Rice talks about holding hands, crying, and expressing weaknesses to another as acts of emotional intimacy. However, the subsequent resignation, ‘and then roll over and die,’ captures the futility we often feel amidst being transparent with others. It’s reflective of a profound societal paradox: the demand for honesty but the simultaneous discomfort it creates.

This resignation suggests a deeper ambivalence towards vulnerability, hinting at the emotional risk one takes when laying bare their soul. It sketches a portrait of human fragility and the courage it takes to reveal one’s true self, meshed with the implicit acknowledgment of the mortality that shadows our every disclosure.

The Paralysis of Indecision: Life’s Waiting Game

Rice contemplates the figurative shackles of indecision with the words, ‘You can brave decisions / Before you crumble up inside.’ There is a palpable tension between the desire to be decisive and the subsequent crippling uncertainty. In seeking approval, the character Rice portrays becomes trapped in a cycle of evasion, ultimately hiding from the very decisions that demand confrontation.

This aspect of the song speaks to the paralysis many feel when facing life’s crossroads, using the metaphor of asking ‘everyone else’s permission’ as a stall tactic against the inevitability of choice. Here, Rice captures the essence of procrastination in decision-making—a relatable stasis born out of the fear of repercussion.

The Irreverent Chorus: ‘Licking Coconut Skins’

The chorus of the song is where the titular ‘Coconut Skins’ makes its appearance. The visceral image of licking the tough exterior of coconut skins conjures a sense of engaging in an experience that is not only unorthodox but also seemingly fruitless. It’s an activity that holds no apparent purpose and yet is described with a blasé nonchalance.

The phrase functions as a metaphor for life’s inexplicable actions and the peculiar habits we adopt to make sense of our world. When ‘God just dropped by to forgive our sins / And relieve us our doubt,’ Rice juxtaposes the mundane with the divine, infusing the act of licking coconut skins with a facetious nod to both the banality and grandiosity of existence.

The Search for the Soul: An Exercise in Futility?

In the realm of romantic imagery, ‘Oh, you can hold her eggs / But your basket has a hole’ paints a vivid picture of effort that is undermined by inherent flaws. It zooms in on the attempt to capture something as elusive as the soul, navigating the terrain between physical closeness and spiritual discovery.

Rice uses these images to reflect the often futile nature of seeking completeness in another person. The basket’s hole is a metaphor for human imperfection, and the notion that the search for someone’s soul is perhaps a quest destined for incompleteness. This serves as a reminder of our own shortcomings in the pursuit of deeper connection.

The Hidden Poignancy: Compost, Coal, and Contagious Time

Towards the latter part of the song, Rice shifts the imagery towards the organic process of decay with ‘watch your compost turn to coal.’ This line taps into a rich vein of metaphor, drawing parallels between the natural disintegration of matter and the human condition.

The allusion to time’s contagious nature and the collective march towards old age serves as a grounding reminder of our shared mortality and the transformational processes that govern both life and death. This sobering acknowledgment of time’s irreversible forward march underscores the album’s deeper reflections on the ephemeral nature of existence and the drive to find meaning within it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like...