Beach House, “Zebra”

Holy shit this is good. I love analyzing song lyrics. This one really speaks to me right now… but not because of a zebra.

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“Zebra” is a song of address; that is, it is sung to an imagined listener, a zebra, that is both literally a zebra, a “black and white horse” that lives in the wilderness, and something more.  There is plenty in the song to suggest that the singer has some kind of relationship to the zebra, which could imply that the singer is singing to a human for whom a zebra is an appropriate metaphor.  This sort of interpretation might posit an addressee of mixed European and African descent, perhaps even the president (Like, he goes before us!), but I doubt the Baltimoreans of Beach House would engage in such vaguely racist wordplay.  Anyway, guessing at the identity of the addressee, though perhaps fun—it’s her boyfriend!, it’s her past self!, it’s her old friend from school!—is fairly pointless and has little to do with the way we hear the song

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