Flesh Canoe by Animal Collective Lyrics Meaning – A Dive into the Psychedelic Canoe of Emotion

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Animal Collective's Flesh Canoe at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning


Young red bird they’re just natural feelings

I can’t keep from changing my brains

Bending my wants with my rights

Are my friends still half right

And should I keep them separate from me

Its unclear then I get a cold

Can I get a light

There’s a certain type of easy pace

That’s what we need to make it

Come in close I trust you your nose dipped in my sweat

It dripped on your beautiful sweater kind of nice

Should I really lie with you I never know when I’m on my own

Are there more important things to do

Then kiss or sleep today we gotta wake up

Then I talk to your breath and we enjoy the air

And I creep on your chest to the hut I have

Where I pluck a few notes on the strands of your hair

And I’m singing to you what to do

If id ask you to make funny faces with me in the mirror of the bathroom

Know your next you make me feel alright

Are you just like me never gonna pick one kind of fruit

Like a mushed banana on your tooth

And you like the sting of the cherry juice

Never eat an apple that’s just one color

Young red bird they’re just natural feelings

Like walking off to ride my bike or just bump into you

I haven’t seen you in a week or three days

Though it really bugs me

Its nice to find new ways to smile

I keep thinking that when you feel sad you can’t pout

‘Cause what this songs about is me singing

I’m just wondering what to do with you myself and me naked in the mirror of the bathroom

Full Lyrics

Among the spectrum of experimental sounds crafted by Animal Collective, ‘Flesh Canoe’ emerges as a melodic enigma—its lyrics both cryptic and visceral, casting a vivid landscape of emotional rawness intertwined with a surreal mindscape. This track, plucked from their lauded 2005 album ‘Feels’, drifts through varied themes with poetic abstraction and intimate imagery.

Dissecting ‘Flesh Canoe’ is akin to a journey through fragmented memories and tactile sensations, where deciphering meaning is as personal as the relationship between the notes and the listener. The song’s emotional resonance extends beyond its words, carrying with it an ambiance that is central to the band’s musical ethos.

Navigating Emotional Waters in ‘Flesh Canoe’

The opening lines of ‘Flesh Canoe’ set a tone of natural instinct and emotional evolution, as symbolized by the ‘young red bird’. These lyrics express a struggle with the ever-changing nature of one’s thoughts and desires, suggesting a battle between what feels natural and what is deemed right. It’s a confession of confusion, an intimate glimpse into the process of emotional maturation.

The struggle to remain authentic to oneself while adapting to the shifting terrains of relationships is a central thread. The ‘cold’ and the request for a light symbolize moments of vulnerability and the need for guidance or connection, perhaps even alluding to a sense of isolation despite the presence of others.

The Intimacy of Shared Spaces in Lyrics

In a profound display of trust and closeness, the lyrics ‘Come in close I trust you your nose dipped in my sweat’ capture the intimate intricacies of a relationship. The beauty found in such personal moments is conveyed through poignant imagery, where even a potentially awkward or uncomfortable instance becomes endearing and significant.

The phrase ‘beautiful sweater’ juxtaposed with the visceral experience of one’s scent alludes to a unity of the material and the sensory. This complex layering of imagery conveys the depth of shared experiences, suggesting that amidst the mundane—like sleep or kissing—lies the pattern of true connection.

The Ballad of Melancholy and Merriment

An equally mesmerizing sequence in ‘Flesh Canoe’ is the contemplation about what matters most in our shared experiences—the decision whether to indulge in the simplicity of love or to shoulder the weight of daily responsibilities. The song challenges our prioritization of life’s tasks over the joys of affection and companionship.

The dialogue with the ‘breath’ and the ‘creep on your chest’ magnifies the inherent sensuality and profound connection between lovers. The hut of hair and the plucking of notes turn the body into a landscape of musical and romantic expression, showcasing Animal Collective’s trademark blending of the human experience with ethereal imagery.

Unwrapping the Song’s Hidden Vibrance

The seemingly nonsensical comparison of love to fruit in the later verses delves into the song’s deeper meanings about choice and variety in life. Averse to the monotony symbolized by ‘an apple that’s just one color’, the song celebrates the unpredictable and multifaceted nature of love, relationships, and individual preferences.

The contrast between the ‘mushed banana’ and the ‘sting of the cherry juice’ hints at embracing both the comfortable and the daring parts of love. It is a call to resist the bland uniformity of experiences, and instead, to savor the richness that comes from a spectrum of emotional highs and lows.

Memorable Lines that Capture a Complex Narrative

The song concludes by revisiting the ‘young red bird’—a circular narrative approach that reiterates the theme of natural instinct. The lyrics move us in the same manner one might ‘bump into’ an old friend or rediscover lost joys, affirming that personal growth often arises from the acceptance of all emotional facets.

‘Flesh Canoe’ imparts the idea that in order to sail through the tumultuous oceans of love and existence, one must embrace both the confusion of ‘wondering what to do’ and the liberation of self-acceptance—even if it means being ‘naked in the mirror of the bathroom’. The song is a testament to the notion that emotional honesty and vulnerability are intrinsic parts of the human journey.

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