Andrew Bird ft. Fiona Apple - "Left Handed Kisses" (Singles Going Steady)

by PopMatters Staff

4 March 2016

"Left Hand Kisses" is an anti-love song that reveals its characters' affections a bit more with each attempt at rejection they make.
 

Chris Ingalls: From what I hear, love songs don’t come easily to Andrew Bird, and this song is not so much a love song but a song about love songs. Fiona Apple is a terrific foil here, and her voice has a wonderful, raspy (yet tuneful) quality. The song itself has a fresh, unique acoustic arrangement. The violin comes it at all the right times – especially during the bridge, when it speeds up and gets all buzzy and distorted. Bird comes off as a bit of a younger Richard Thompson, both in his vocal delivery and in the song’s off-kilter folk arrangement. A beautiful thing. [8/10]
  

Morgan Y. Evans: This song wrecked me. Hard not to get pulled right in to the sentiments. Two of the best out there, unabashedly themselves. Fiona kind of does the impossible here (well, not for her) and makes the delightfully multi-faceted Bird seem almost second fiddle but truly the two in conjunction on one track is an unconventional pop fan’s dream. The final act of the song is not as powerful as the first but serves to wrap the narrative up nicely. [7/10]

Steve Horowitz: The whimsical spirit, sonic strangeness, and charming interplay between the two artists makes this a mysterious and delightful song. Bird is somewhere between John Lennon and Daniel Johnson here—a little too whimsical that keeps things interesting—and his steampunk instrumentations creates a place where Apple can find inspiration in the chaos. Cool stuff, indeed. [9/10]

Emmanuel Elone: Bird and Apple come through with a solid track, filled with different tempos and emotions that change a lot on the three minute song. This makes “Left Handed Kisses” a bit disjointed, but that’s not much of an issue when the passion and great country instrumentation are this good. [6/10]

Chad Miller: A moving duet that owes as much to its beautiful music as it does to its engaging stars. Both Bird and Apple are impressive vocalists, and they sound even better together. [9/10]

Pryor Stroud: A feud sprawled out impressionistically over blunt, hard-strummed guitar, maudlin bells, and errant strings, “Left Hand Kisses” is an anti-love song that reveals its characters’ affections a bit more with each attempt at rejection they make. Apple’s shaken yet standing-her-ground vocal persona provides an eloquent counterpoint to Bird’s tremulous folk-poet ramblings, and the melody seems to travel great distances, through wild and desiccated terrains, despite the fact that this is only, in theory, an across-the-table altercation. Bird’s notorious literary predilections come to the fore here as well. He asks, “How did I ever find you / Drifting gently through the gyre / Of the great Sargasso sea?”, and it’s hard not to think of the first lines of W.B. Yeats’ “The Second Coming”. The allusion arrives, invited or not, and several questions follow: in this case, who is the falcon and who is the falconer? Yes, things are falling apart, but can the center really not hold? [9/10]

SCORE: 8.00

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