|Bird, Andrew / Are You Serious|
|Add Date:||2016-04-18|| ||Pull Date:||2016-06-19|| |
|Week Ending:||19 Jun||12 Jun||5 Jun||29 May||22 May||15 May||8 May||1 May|
“Are You Serious” Andrew Bird|
Andrew Bird may be an acquired taste. A remarkably gifted singer-songwriter, his preferred instrument is the violin/fiddle — which he bows, plucks and strums. He’s also a world-class whistler and highly proficient at looping to create fully orchestrated arrangements by himself. His exceptional musicianship has at times made him seem aloof and serious. In his first full-length album in almost four years, he tackles those labels head-on. It helps that during this period of time, he has married and had a son. This change in perspective has resulted in one of Bird’s most creative, but also quite grounded works in some time. It’s all excellent folk-rock (with some other flavors mixed in) — but of course with Bird’s unique musical touches.
Recommended: 2, 4, 7, 3, 6, 9, 1. No FCCs detected.
1. (3:41) Capsized — Infectious, R&B-influenced groove. Sounds remarkably like “Use Me,” a Bill Withers song from 1972. Precise drumming and synth trimmings. ***
2. (4:03) Roma Fade — Opens with whistling and plucking. Then, becomes a bright, up-tempo pop-rock song with a string-laden melody. Tells the story of when Bird met his wife. ****
3. (5:29) Truth Lies Low — Wistful, slightly jazzy composition with a two-minute instrumental trail-out that enables Bird to show off his extraordinary musical gifts. ***
4. (3:31) Puma — A quirky and personal song remembering a time when his wife was dealing with a health issue (which turned out okay). His wife said something about hoping that doctors wouldn’t discover she’s a girl, and not a puma. Lots of intricate guitar parts, mandolin, and plucked strings. ****
5. (3:23) Chemical Switches — Introspective and sweet. Fingerpicked guitar. Whistling. Strings in the background.
6. (3:15) Left Handed Kisses — Raw duet with Fiona Apple. Old-fashioned love song. Strummed guitar. Tubular bells. Classical-sounding lead break. ***
7. (3:39) Are You Serious — Tongue-in-cheek, self-critical lyrics. Pokes fun at his “too serious” persona. Plucked and bowed violin. Guitars. Synths. ***
8. (3:49) Saints Preservus — Fascinating, classical harmonized whistling intro. Sometimes jazzy or free-form, sometimes Americana-leaning. Nice violin lead break.
9. (4:11) The New Saint Jude — Bouncy and fun tune. Lots of plucking on high notes. Tempo shift in middle. A nod to Paul Simon, both musically and lyrically. “Ever since I gave up hope/I’m feeling so much better.” ***
10. (5:34) Valleys of the Young — Electric guitar- and banjo-driven folk-rock in sections. Builds to big sound several times. Mentions Bird and his wife having a son.
11. (2:05) Bellevue — Short, uplifting closer with minimal lyrics and multiple layers of plucked and bowed violins — backed by strings.