Halfway through my Sophomore year, a friend tried introducing me to a very strange mix of Imitosis by someone called Andrew Bird. It didn’t turn me on to the sound but it planted the seed and beat for me to discover years later, when I heard this. I then spent hours listening to the entirety of The Mysterious Production of Eggs.
Lyrically, there are few musicians I like more than Andrew Bird. It’s hard to describe his songs as each one is kind of its own little story. Every little song is a unique look at some of the creative parts of Bird’s mind back in 2005.
The entire A side plays off like so deceptively innocent, as the first few times you listen to it you won’t notice the lines that talk about “accidental suicide, the kind where no one dies” in Sovay, or “you really should have died, stretched out on the tarmac” in A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left (which is one of my top ten favorite songs of all time).
Of course Fake Palindromes takes the cake of for A sides deceptively nice song, with it’s fun beats and electric violin, which is a real instrument that I never knew I needed in my life. Why is it so frightening? Perhaps it’s the lyrics that describe a “dewy-eyed Disney bride” who has formaldehyde in her blood, has committed fratricide ( or the murder of one’s brother or sister), has blood in her eyes and wants to “drill a tiny hole in your head.” Nightmares guaranteed!
Luckily we get a break from the Lovecraftian nightmares on side B about skin so pale and cold that it is transparent again the buildings downtown in Skin Is, My or how MX Missiles tells us that the subject of the song was “in the ground in late November” because that they weren’t as impervious as they thought. Did I say
Even more bleak is Tables and Chairs, which is just about the end of the world. Bird croons that “after the fall there’ll be no more countries…we’re gonna live on our wits, throw away survival kits.” Of course all is not doomed in the cheerfully bleak future as the song ends claiming that even after all this, there will be snacks.
Then there’s the ultimate gut punch in the form of Happy Birthday Song, the closer for this album. There’s no veil here, Bird just wants someone to sing it to him. He knows that it’s a bit cliche and maybe you don’t mean it but sing it anyway. Sing it “like it’s gonna be your last day here on earth.”
So go ahead, no matter how bleak tomorrow is, face it with a smile and beat that makes you happy.