August 3 2011
A few weeks ago, I wrote that a Muppets Tribute album will be released called "The Green Album." The release of the album is in conjunction with the new Muppets movie do out later this year. The tribute album will feature Muppet cover songs from artists such as My Morning Jacket, Sondre Lerche, The Airborne Toxic Event, Weezer, and others. "The Green Album" will be released on August 23.
A few days ago NPR debuted Andrew Bird's cover of the classic song, "Bein' Green." The original of course was performed by the main green man, Kermit The Frog. NPR asked Bird to recall his memories of the song "Bein' Green" and what they mean to him.
"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.
I think this song appears in both The Muppet Show and Sesame Street. The Muppet Show was what really excited me as a kid. It was so dark and full of mysterious stuff that doesn't usually happen on a kids' show. I have never fully recovered from Donnie and Marie Osmond getting swallowed whole by giant Muppets. The tripped-out '70s visuals set to the music of the Tin Pan Alley tradition created a whole new vaudeville setting.
Kermit really owns this song, so I felt kind of funny covering it. Maybe I chose it for the challenge of taking it away from him for a moment, so we can see what a great piece of writing it is. It's also fun to play the old jazz stuff again. As a side note, I translated the lyrics into French for performances in France and Quebec. It takes on a whole other quality in French, and really brings out the existential undertones. "When green is all there is to be / it makes you wonder / why wonder / I'm green and besides it's all I want to be."
Take a listen to cover below or via NPR's website.
Here is the oringial done by the one and only Kermit.