An Ode to the Others | “High Tide Storm Rising” by Skinshape


Riya Patchava, Writer/Volunteer

Some people live their lives for the thrill, waiting for the next plot point to keep their earth turning. But for others, life isn’t a constant joyride. It is consistent and steady. Our lives are late Sunday mornings and a walk down a leaf-covered sidewalk. 

The song “High Tide Storm Rising” by Skinshape is a song for the others. It’s a song to listen to on the bus and a song for the days when the warmth of the sun hits you just as you start to shiver. Not a word is sung in the 3:56-long song, but the listener hears a story in the steady beats of the drum, the long strokes of the violins, the warm timbre of the trumpet and the rhythmic strum of the guitar. 

The artist Skinshape came to me at the end of an era. Their most popular song, “I Didn’t Know,” played on loop as I walked the stage at graduation and said my last goodbyes. “High Tide Storm Rising” was released at the beginning of a new chapter of my life. When I first heard about the song I fumbled with the strings of my headphones, turned the volume on high and let the song my life would revolve around for the next little while filter through my ears and swirl around in my brain.

Listening to this song for the first time, I kept expecting a soft voice to peek in through the waves of the various instruments, but it never came. Curious, I later scrolled through Skinshape’s discography and noticed the uncanny amount of songs similar to this one, that contained no lyrics at all. In listening to this song more, I came to understand the band’s choice not to use vocals, and instead appreciate the waxing and waning intensity of the instrumentals. I think I understand why lyrics weren’t used — they didn’t have to be. This is a montage song, something to play in the background as you go about your day. You are the story the song is accompanying, your voice is the lyrics. 

With a song like this, it isn’t hard to close your eyes and let your imagination drift away to a big city in the fall, a green courtyard, and a musician practicing his trumpet out the window of his apartment. When I hear the instruments weave in and out of the song I hear the sounds of the city. Every element of the song has its place, strategically working their way through the chorus and coming together to become one beautiful final product. 

I found myself turning up the volume right around the 2:30 mark. There’s something so alluring to the tone of the song just as it starts to escalate, something like a siren calling the listener out to sea. Just as it gets to the peak, the song plateaus and the listener is left with soft guitar residue. 

Listen to the song, maybe while you study or stroll through a park. Waste a couple of hours with “High Time Storm Rising” playing softly in the background. Life moves too fast, slow down a little bit and become an other for a while.