Andrew Bird has always been highly respected and has held a captive audience with his story telling prowess, but it’s with his new album, ’Are You Serious', that he has made a breakthrough record. Coming via his new label home Loma Vista Recordings (Spoon, St. Vincent, HEALTH) and produced by Tony Berg, the album propels him into a new category of American songwriters. It’s his most direct lyrically to date with key contributions from Fiona Apple and Blake Mills.
Three years ago while traveling west to California to start a new life with his wife and young child they stopped at the family farm in rural Illinois for two weeks to catch their breath. The previous two years had been intense to say the least: raising a child in New York City as his wife battled a serious illness. With these dark days behind them he spent the next seven days on the front porch writing the lyrics for what became "Are You Serious". It’s a breakthrough for him in that It gets to the quick of the matter. This is the record he needed to make right now and is certain to put him in the leading class of American songwriter.
The album was put together with a rigor akin to a novelist or playwright and musically crafted like a wrecking crew session where you have to be good right in that moment. There's little folksy quaintness or whimsical flights of fancy. There's less wordplay and more intent to process some difficult times that he went through. From the album art, created by the godfather of conceptual art John Baldessari to foregoing his traditional writing process, Bird has emerged from challenging times and a new process with an album that may be his best.
The first single "Capsized” begins to take you down the path that Bird so carefully crafted on the record, speaking from an unguarded point of view while keeping with the melodic, syntactic standards that he has held true to since the beginning of his career. Listen to the first single "Capsized” via this playful lyric video based on Baldessari's distinctive album artwork (link up top). A special, limited edition box set will include among other things colored, 180g vinyl, and exclusive material on bonus 10” + 7” formats.
For more on the record, you can listen to his All Songs Considered interview with Bob Boilen. Additionally, Bird has announced more show dates for his world tour with $1 for every ticket sold going to Everytown for Gun Violence, an organization that works to end gun violence to build safer communities. Beyond the album, Andrew’s original musical score and distinctive whistling provide an offbeat décor to the brand new Zach Galifianakis comedy 'Baskets' airing on FX.