Maybe it is because of where I am right now in my life, with a little girl learning to walk and desperate to hold my hand, but Skipping hit me hard. This is a beautiful song, a love letter from a parent to a child. That's notoriously difficult material to write about well. Even moreso than the connection between two lovers, the relationship between a parent and a child is so complicated, so unique, so intensely personal. Love songs have the same problem--everyone knows what THEIR love feels like, but other people's experiences sound trite and cliche, no matter how authentic. The best love songs usually have to circle around their subject rather than addressing it directly,. They fill in the surrounding spaces. Love becomes visible by defining its borders. This makes it possible to share without having to try and explain something experienced by the lovers alone. Eddie pulls this off in Skipping. He can't capture the relationship itself so he captures a moment and uses that moment to speak to the whole.
This is a hushed and delicate song, one that is trying to live in a moment too fragile and fleeting to risk disturbing. It's a particularly heartfelt performance, a complicated mixture of love, longing, pride, joy, and stillness, one straining to capture every detail, every sensation, so he can have it forever without having to sacrifice the moment itself.
I love that he grounds the song in something so innocent, (skipping with his daughter), and the way he describes the pride, the urgent need to love, the fierce desire to protect, and how all of this is anchored by savoring the simple and profound experience of holding his little girl's hand in his. He gets this absolutely right.
Skipping is not a sad song by any stretch. It's quite joyful, actually, but it's a bittersweet joy, because it has to be fleeting. The little girl won't be young forever. Daddy will not always be the center of her universe, even if she'll always be the center of his. I'm not sure a child can love a parent the way a parent can love a child. She won't always be holding daddy's hand, and no matter how much he wants her to grow up strong, happy, and independent, his heart breaks knowing he can't linger here forever.
The shivering silver tones of the guitar are a wonderful backdrop for the vocals, and Eddie's voice showcases the warmth, depth, and rich texture that make him, when he wants to be, one of the very best around. There are beautiful double tracked vocals throughout this song--which makes sense, since there are two of him now. The heart that beats in his chest and the one that beats in hers. Skipping culminates with the kind of gorgeous, wordless self harmonies that he does so unbelievably well. And this makes sense. In the end this song is about something universal, but too personal for words.