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The most famous song from this group, from the soundtrack of the movie "She's all that", scenes from which we can see on this video. Although released in 1977, this was the most-played radio song in 1999 in 11 different countries, including Canada, UK, Australia, Japan and Israel.

This is how their vocalist, Leigh Nash, described the origin of the band's name on the Late Show with David Letterman:

"It comes from a book by C. S. Lewis called Mere Christianity. A little boy asks his father if he can get a sixpence—a very small amount of English currency—to go and get a gift for his father. The father gladly accepts the gift and he's really happy with it, but he also realizes that he's not any richer for the transaction. C.S. Lewis was comparing that to his belief that God has given him, and us, the gifts that we possess, and to serve Him the way we should, we should do it humbly—realizing how we got the gifts in the first place".

Kiss me out of the bearded barley
Nightly, beside the green, green grass
Swing, swing, swing the spinning step
You wear those shoes and I will wear that dress.

Oh, kiss me beneath the milky twilight
Lead me out on the moonlit floor
Lift your open hand
Strike up the band and make the fireflies dance
Silver moon's sparkling
So kiss me

Kiss me down by the broken tree house
Swing me upon its hanging tyre
Bring, bring, bring your flowered hat
We'll take the trail marked on your father's map

Oh, kiss me beneath the milky twilight
Lead me out on the moonlit floor
Lift your open hand
Strike up the band and make the fireflies dance
Silver moon's sparkling
So kiss me

Kiss me beneath the milky twilight
Lead me out on the moonlit floor
Lift your open hand
Strike up the band and make the fireflies dance
Silver moon's sparkling
So kiss me
So kiss me
So kiss me
So kiss me

BEARDED BARLEY= A kind of barley with long soft whiskers (see picture)

NIGHTLY= Happening in the night.

SWING THE SPINNING STEP= It is a reference to a ball (= dancing party). A swing here is a quick dance movement. The steps of a dance is how you move your feet for that dance, how you step when dancing waltz, paso doble, tango, and other kinds of ballroom dance. To spin is to rotate around an axis, so the spinning step is a step where you spin and turn around.

THOSE SHOES... THAT DRESS= They were remembering a past moment when they were dancing together (maybe the prom?), so now she asks him to do that spinning step she liked so much, and here is now a reference to the shoes he was wearing at that dance (those shoes) and the dress she was wearing back then too (that dress). So if that dance was so special for them, probably they fell in love at that moment and now she wants to relive it.

BENEATH= (poetical) Under.

THE MILKY TWILIGHT= The twilight (two-lights) is the time of the day when day and night clash (dawn and dusk), and she describes it as “milky” because at that time things get blurred, as if covered by a layer of milk (serious, no joke here).

MOONLIT= Illuminated by the light of the moon.

LIFT YOUR OPEN PALM= Lift is raise, put up. The action of “lifting your open hand” is what the man does when he approaches a sitting lady and offers his hand to help her get up and dance with him. If you do it in an elegant way, bending a bit and lifting your open hand softly, it is a very romantic scene.

STRIKE UP THE BAND= To cause the music band to start playing.

FIREFLIES= (in AmE also: firebugs) Little flying animals that glow in the dark, so they look like little stars shining in the forest, a vision which is absolutely amazing and magical if you ever get to see it (see picture)

SPARKLING= To sparkle is to give off little sparks of light or reflections (see picture)

TREE HOUSE= A wooden house built in a tree top, the dream of any kid (see picture). The fact that the tree house is broken means that it is old, so it is that very special and intimate place that he had when a child. (see picture)

SWING= This other swing is not a dance step, now it is the pendular movement (going back and forth) that you enjoy when sitting on a swing (see picture)

HANGING TYRE= A tyre (AmE “tire”) is the rubber part of a car wheel (see a tyre), and it may be used to improvise a swing hanging it from a tree branch with a rope (see a swing made with a tyre)

FLOWERED HAT= A hat with some kind of flower decoration.
This is the polemical object that made some people think we’re talking about two women here, but read under the Meaning tab for more information about this hat.

TRAIL= Path, way. To take the trail is to follow a route, a reference to pirates’ maps showing a trail leading to the treasure, symbol of adventure and excitement for a kid.

This song is trying, above all, to evoke that magic and romantic atmosphere that surrounds the moments previous to that wonderful first kiss.

Many people actually think that this song is about lesbianism, based on the fact that no man would ever wear a "flowered hat", so it has to be another woman. Well, here are two facts that totally go against that interpretation:

1- Sixpence none the richer is a Christian rock band, so don't expect a lesbic love hymn from them.

2- The song is sung by Leigh Nash, a woman, so if she's asking another woman to kiss her, then she must be a Lesbian, right? Kind of, but the song was actually composed by Matt Slocum, the male guitarist of the band, and he said he composed this song for his wife, so, sorry, heterosexual love. And yes, the flowered hat belongs to his wife, but apparently, when Nash sung the song nobody thought it important to change the hat to make it sound more masculine. After all, hippies did wear flowered hats and all that, both male and female, so no big deal, although they did make some adjustments, because I don't think Matt would originally write that "I will wear that dress", so maybe he should have changed the hat too, if only to avoid all the controversy that raised since then. And then again, some say the song was originally planned to be a duet, a girl singing the first half and a man singing the other half; that could also explain the dress and the flowered hat.

Many think there's also a subtle Christian reference hidden in the song. The line "We'll take the trail marked on your father's map" would be a reference to God's will, although quite dilluted and, to be honest, possible but not too convincing either.

As for the rest, this is simply a romantic and cute account of a first kiss in a new relationship, when it's all filled with anticipation, and awkwardness, and nerves, and it's gentle, soft, and slow, it feels little different than it did as a teenager having her/his first kiss.

It’s exactly the kind of stuff that people want their first kiss to be like. There’s the whole idea of being in nature on a summer day. The chorus is pure poetry describing how the encounter will be. The moonlit setting, the dancing of fireflies to an imaginary band. With all this magic going on and the moonlight beckoning, Nash sheepishly says “so kiss me.”

Beyond the chorus there is another verse which describes youthful things. The broken down tree house, swinging on a tyre swing, playing dress up and exploring. Such simple yet beautiful acts of youth. Which is what a first kiss should be. And which, to be honest, I’ve never known someone to have. Which is sort of sad, but also not. Because nothing can be better than the build up of that special moment where two people meet in the simplest, perfectly intimate way. And if you happen to find someone who when you think of a kiss from them makes you think of all the youthful things described in “Kiss Me”, then hold onto them with all you’ve got.

 

 
 
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