“You Coward, You Hummingbird”
That line me take notice when I saw Eskimeaux open for Mitski & Elvis Depressedly back in July. When they finished, someone in the crowd yelled, “Play that again!” I didn’t write about it back then because I was already pushing a couple thousand words just focusing on the headliners. But Eskimeaux was one of the more captivating opening acts I’ve seen in a while, and it’s because of songs like “The Thunder Answered Back.”
In my post-concert research, I found out they published an earlier version of this song in 2013. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t work as well as the all-new revamped version. Originally everything was wispy, barely present, weightless like spider webs. It’s a demo compared to the version on OK, their 2015 album. And that’s because of the song’s payoff — the slaying accusations of coward and hummingbird.
Those are accusations that deserve a fire. Gabrielle Smith sings it with such conviction that it makes you examine the very nature of the word, and in those moments, nothing sounds as despicable as a coward.
A coward is the unwillingness to act due to self-preservation. It’s selfish, short sighted, and shameful. Even cowards don’t want to be the way they are, even they feel the overbearing stigma of what they know they are. But it’s in our nature. “The Thunder Answered Back” reminds me that we all have our instances of cowardice, our moments when we could have been better. Listen to this song if you want to feel bad about all those times.