Skinny Ape – Deciphering the Anthemic Ode to Identity and Existence


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Gorillaz's Skinny Ape at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. Beyond the Primal Scream: Unlocking ‘Skinny Ape’s’ Inner Layers
  5. Metaphorical Tides and the Resonant Chorus
  6. Melancholia Meets Irony – A Cartoon G’s Existential Voice
  7. The Spiritual Ascent: Climbing the ‘Highest Tree’
  8. Echoes of ‘Skinny Ape’: Memorable Lines and Their Echo Through Culture

Lyrics

To the pool, at least try to let it go
But nobody knows what they’re fooling with here

There will be time and there will be a sign (ape)
When all the kids who have cancelled time will (ape)
Take my hands and pull me up again (ape)
Cheer me up and help me walk again (walk again)

To the pool, at least try to let it go
But nobody knows what they’re fooling with here

I got bones, and I got jaded legs (ape)
Not the type that can win a race (ape)
Living plastic on a vacant lot (ape)
Left behind and staring at a robot

Don’t be sad for me (ape)
I’m a cartoon G (ape)
And my intent is to breathe (ape) in a new world
Don’t be sad for me

(Ape) breathe
(Ape) breathe

I can balance on the highest tree
You can only see outlines of me
I can disappear, or lighten your day
Imitate and say
I’m a skinny little ape

Don’t be sad for me (I’m a skinny little ape)
I’m a cartoon G (I’m a cartoon G, ape)
And my intent is to breathe (ape) in a new world
Don’t be sad for me

Don’t be sad for me
I’m a cartoon G
And my intent is to breathe (ape) in a new world
Don’t be sad for me

I’m a skinny little, skinny little, skinny little, skinny little ape, ape, ape, ape
Ape, ape, ape, I’m a skinny little, skinny little, skinny little
Skinny little ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape
I’m a skinny little, skinny little, skinny little, skinny little ape, ape, ape, ape
Ape, ape, ape, I’m a skinny little, skinny little, skinny little
Skinny little ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape
Ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape
Ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape
Ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape
Ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape
I’m a skinny little, skinny little, skinny little, skinny little ape, ape, ape, ape
Ape, ape, ape, I’m a skinny little, skinny little, skinny little
Skinny little ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape
I’m a skinny little, skinny little, skinny little, skinny little ape, ape, ape, ape
Ape, ape, ape, I’m a skinny little, skinny little, skinny little
Skinny little ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape, ape

But nobody knows what they’re fooling with for me
Don’t be sad for me

Full Lyrics

Gorillaz, known for their eclectic blend of music and visual artistry, throw us into contemplative territory with ‘Skinny Ape,’ a song that melds poetic ambiguity with Damon Albarn’s hauntingly introspective vocals. As the industry strives to churn out hits that conform to the mainstream palate, Gorillaz pushes the boundaries, compelling fans to look beneath the surface.

At first listen, ‘Skinny Ape’ may seam like just another avant-garde track from the virtual band, but a closer examination reveals layers of meaning and symbolism waiting to be unraveled. It’s a rich tapestry of modern angst intertwined with a longing for authenticity and transformation.

Beyond the Primal Scream: Unlocking ‘Skinny Ape’s’ Inner Layers

‘Skinny Ape’ isn’t just a cryptic title; it’s an invitation to question the core of one’s identity within an increasingly artificial society. The lyrics point to a struggle of being in the world but not of it, embodying a character detached from the race of life, perhaps reflecting today’s generational fatigue and existential malaise.

Speaking of Apes, the symbolic undertone cannot be ignored, as they are often associated with the rawest form of human nature. The ‘skinny’ modifier, however, juxtaposes vulnerability and perhaps a sense of inadequacy within a world that demands strength and assertiveness. It tugs at the duality of human experience — the visible versus the invisible, the external versus the internal.

Metaphorical Tides and the Resonant Chorus

The recurrent theme of a pool indicates a setting that requires one to dive deep, to immerse oneself, and to potentially ‘let go.’ Yet, as the lyrics suggest, there’s a hesitance, an unknown that keeps the protagonist wary. It’s emblematic of society’s push to conform and the innate human resistance to losing oneself to the collective currents.

The chorus serves as both a rallying cry and a comforting whisper. It acknowledges the societal pressure that renders us ‘cancelled’ from time, disengaged from the present by the overwhelming rush of modern life. However, it promises regeneration and partnership against the backdrop of isolation, painting a camaraderie that lifts and supports.

Melancholia Meets Irony – A Cartoon G’s Existential Voice

Gorillaz has never shied away from ironic social commentary, and this song isn’t an exception. By portraying oneself as a ‘cartoon G’ who aims to breathe ‘in a new world,’ the song juxtaposes the weight of existence against the lightness of being seen as nothing more than an animated character. This could be a nod to our digital personas, echoing how they’re often mocked or trivialized despite their now central role in our lives.

The song is not without a glint of hope; the intent ‘to breathe’ suggests resilience and the aspiration for a fresh start. ‘Skinny Ape’ is a call to acknowledge and honor one’s reality, to embrace the complexities of life without surrendering to despair.

The Spiritual Ascent: Climbing the ‘Highest Tree’

The imagery of balancing on the highest tree extends the conversation about visibility and existence. Perched high above, one may be seen only in vague outlines, able to vanish or bring light, an omnipresence that teeters between influence and insignificance. It speaks to the ephemeral nature of fame, success, or even consciousness within the fast-paced digital age.

Moreover, it could illustrate the existential climb — our constant reach for meaning, understanding, and higher perspective. Amidst volatility and confusion, there’s a primal drive to ascend, to see beyond the flesh-and-blood to the soul’s silhouette against life’s vast canvas.

Echoes of ‘Skinny Ape’: Memorable Lines and Their Echo Through Culture

Repeated with a lyrical cadence that staples it into the listeners’ consciousness, ‘I’m a skinny little ape’ is a line that, like Gorillaz’s best, resonates and ricochets through the many chambers of cultural dialogue. It’s a phrase that distills a larger narrative of self-perception, forcing us to confront the often uncomfortable, unspoken truths about our societal roles and personal journeys.

Every utterance of ‘ape’ in the song throws a spotlight on how closely our civilized veneers align with our primal selves, inviting us to ponder where one ends and the other begins. ‘Skinny Ape’ thus proves to be more than just a track — it’s an anthem for introspection in a world teetering on the edges of reality and simulacrum.

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