Andrew Bird: The Songbird of Our Generation
At the beginning of Are You Serious, one may be thinking that it is without a shadow of a doubt the new Black Keys record or perhaps JEFF the Brotherhood. As the album slowly transitions into contemplative lyrics with the twinge of a violin hiding behind crackly guitars, the listener realizes that it is not some blues band resurrected from the American South, but the Illinois born and bred Andrew Bird. At the start of his new record, he seems to be channeling some early White Stripes, but at its core, it is sublimely and wholeheartedly Andrew Bird.
It can be a bit shocking when “Capsized” begins to play and one begins to think that Andrew Bird has changed his sound to appeal to a more diversified set of listeners. As the record continues, however, the bluesy, intense songs morph into dulcet-sounding folk songs interrupted intermittently by hissing guitars. On this album, Bird seems to explore the more experimental side to his sound while still retaining his originality. Take for instance “Puma” with its nod to bluegrass, heavily features Bird’s distinctive yet arresting violin. While “Left Handed Kisses” and “Saints Preservus” channel the absurd and playful whistling that every fan is so fond of. One may say at the start of this record that Andrew Bird has adapted his sound, but what he accomplishes on this is so much greater. He does not simply experiment with new instrumentation; rather, he evolves with it showing his mastery and musical cleverness to switch effortlessly between genres.
It is safe to say that this new record will not disappoint fans, but the one impact this record will have will be on listeners who have a minute understanding and trivial relationship with Andrew Bird. The best advice to be offered in this situation is to make a commitment to listen to this record. Buy the new album, sit down, and press play. Do not overthink the instrumentation or the lyrics. Simply, let the music overwhelm and permeate the mind of the listener until one becomes perfectly aware of the beauty and reverence of Are You Serious.