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Tune-In Tuesdays #3: Lemon Boy – Cavetown

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By: burgundy bug

LEMON BOY Album Cover

Source: LEMON BOY by cavetown | bandcamp

This Tuesday, we are tuning in to title track of cavetown’s latest album LEMON BOY.

I’ve been on a real indie-kick lately. Something about cuddling up by the fireplace in an oversized sweater with a cup of tea and Mellow Fellow, Clairo, or Peach Pit playing in the background just feels right. Even if I don’t have a fireplace that I actively use, it’s still a nice thought, right? C’mon, let a bug dream a little!

Thanks to XtaSeay, I’ve been listening to Lemon Boy on loop all week.

Lemon Boy is a sweet little tune that is vaguely reminiscent to Adventure Time’s outro song, Island Song. The whole concept of Lemon Boy also reminds me of Lemongrab from Adventure Time, however I don’t think that was necessarily cavetown’s intent.

Island Song by Ashley Eriksson

Source: Adventure Time – Island Song With Lyrics | Ben10Petya

The track kicks off with some folk-y acoustic guitar, complimented by the English singer-songwriter Robbie Skinner’s soft vocals. It transitions into a blend of folk and pop during the chorus and carries some of those elements into the second verse. Skinner builds the song up throughout the bridge and final refrain before drawing it to a close with a guitar solo.

While Lemon Boy initially comes off as a cute little diddy designed for the same teenie boppers who had Trouble by NeverShoutNever as their ringtone on their flip phones, there is more to the song than appears on the surface.

Trouble by NeverShoutNever

Source: Trouble | NeverShoutNever

“Lemon Boy is the anxiety, the negativity, the illness that’s inside all of us,” Skinner writes in the description of the track on bandcamp. “and that is very strong inside me.”

Taking a closer look at the lyrics, you can see how this personalization of his struggle parallels with having an anxiety disorder.

[E, G#7, A, F#m, B] 
There once was a bitter sweet man and they called him Lemon Boy 
He was growing in my garden and I pulled him out by his hair like a weed 
But like weeds do he only came and grew back again 
So I figured this time I might as well let him be 

[A, E, G#7, F#m, B] 
Lemon Boy and me started to get along together 
I helped him plant his seeds and we’d mow the lawn in bad weather 
It’s actually pretty easy being nice to a bitter boy like him 
So I got myself a citrus friend 

[E, G#7, A, F#m, B] 
But soon his bitter sweet started to rub off on me 
You’d think smelling like lemon zest would be pretty neat 
I found out that my friends are more of the savoury type 
And they weren’t too keen on compromising with a nice lemon pie 

[A, E, G#7, F#m, B] 
So Lemon Boy and me, we just gotta get along together 
I’ll help him plant his seeds and we’ll mow the lawn in bad weather 
It’s actually pretty easy being nice to a bitter boy like him 
So I got myself a citrus friend 

[E, G#7, A, Am; A, E, G#7, A, Am; E, G#7, A, Am, F#m, B] 
But what if I run out of fertiliser 
What if the clouds run out of rain 
What if Lemon Boy won’t grow no longer 
What if beaches dry of sugar cane 
Oh well 
The whales start to beach themselves 
Tortoise shells tear away from their spines 
It happens all the time, it happens all the time 

[A, E, G#7, F#m, B] 
Lemon Boy and I, we’re gonna live forever 
Like Snufkin and Little My, we’ll get around wherever 
Lemon Boy and I, we’re gonna live forever 
Like Snufkin and Little My, we’ll get around wherever 
It’s actually pretty easy being nice to a bitter boy like him 
‘Cause we’re the bitterest boys in town 
Yeah we’re the bitterest guys around 
And I got myself a citrus friend 

[E, G#7, A, Am, F#m, B]

Source: Lemon Boy by cavetown | bandcamp

Having a mental health condition often feels much like having a ghost (or in this case, a Lemon Boy) that follows you around. It’s haunting and generally invisible to everyone around you. In fact, Skinner himself has used ghosts as theme throughout his music in tracks like Poison and This is Home.

This is Home by cavetown

Source: Cavetown – This Is Home // LYRICS | Lost Soul

“A way of being happy for me is disassociating myself from [the anxiety],” Skinner continues in the description of Lemon Boy. “But also learning to live alongside them as a friend.”

Although anxiety is uncomfortable and in some cases, debilitating, Skinner makes the best of it by using his feelings as the basis for his music. His discography is very personal and feels much like skimming over the pages of someone’s journal.

Lemon Boy sets the tone for the rest of the LEMON BOY album. It’s delicate, emotional, and irrevocably indie.

“I really hate Lemon Boy sometimes but he’s never going away,” Skinner confesses. “And I can use him for good (this album for instance).”

Lemon and Lime Stickers

Source: Glossy Lemons and Limes Stickers | P3 StickEz

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burgundy bug


A cynical optimist and mad scientist undercover, burgundy bug is the editor, graphic designer, webmaster, social media manager, and primary photographer for The Burgundy Zine. Entangled in a web of curiosity, burgundy bug’s work embodies a wide variety of topics including: neuroscience, psychology, ecology, biology, cannabis, reviews, fashion, entertainment, and politics. You can learn more about working with burgundy bug by visiting her portfolio website: burgundybug.com

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