Last month, we heard an early live preview of Andrew Bird’s contribution to a new Muppets covers record titled The Green Album, in which Bird revisits Kermit the Frog’s “Bein’ Green” as a fragile, jazzy lament on self-identity. Now the official studio version has arrived via NPR, complete with trademark violin/whistle solos, softly brushed drums, and some thoughtful analysis of the tune penned by Bird:
This song epitomizes Kermit’s role as the sensitive hero, the not-so-fearless leader of the Muppets. He goes from “gosh, it’s rough being green” to “well, green’s not so bad” before discovering that green is the best thing ever. But it’s Kermit, so he reins it in back to feeling pretty good about being green. The song shows us how to celebrate what makes us different, even indulge some delusions of grandeur, but in the end temper them with humility.
The moral of the story? Make healthy choices: that grape soda you saved for weeks may have looked enticing, with its promise of sugary, fake purpleness, and its reunion with your taste buds may have lingered fondly with a familiar sweet nostalgia, but was the subsequent churning in your stomach worth it? Or wasn’t it?
Reiko deepened the wrinkles at the corners of her eyes and looked at me for a time. “You’ve got this funny way of talking,” she sad. “Don’t tell me you’re trying to imitate that boy in Catcher in the Rye?”
"No way!" I said with a smile.
Reiko smiled too, cigarette in mouth. “You are a good person, though. I can tell that much from looking at you. I can tell these things after seven years of watching people come and go here: there are people who can open their hearts and people who can’t. You’re one of the ones who can. Or, more precisely, you can if you want to.”
"What happens when people open their hearts?"
Cigarette dangling from her lips, Reiko clasped her hands together on the table. She was enjoying this. “They get better,” she sad. Her ashes dropped onto the table, but she paid them no mind.