Andrew Bird: Are You Serious (Loma Vista) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Andrew Bird

Are You Serious

Loma Vista

Apr 06, 2016 Andrew Bird Bookmark and Share

“Get out your dictionaries,” Andrew Bird sings on the title song to his latest solo full-length, an apt line for someone whose lyrics often read like the New York Times crossword puzzle. Through his dozen-plus albums, Bird has used his verbosity as a shield, a way of keeping some distance from the listener. Are You Serious contains some of Bird’s most direct songwriting, as he states later on in the title track, “I’m going to cut to the quick/This is all non-fiction.” Of course, there’s that title, and so the directness carries with it the twitch of a smile.

“How did I ever find you/Now you got me writing love songs/With a common refrain like this one,” he sings on the winking “Left Handed Kisses,” his duet with Fiona Apple, a simple song at first blush but an infinitely complex one upon closer inspection. In spite of the jokes, the sentiment feels very real indeed. “Is it selfish or is it brave?” Bird asks on “Valleys of the Young,” a song about deciding whether or not to have children. Bird describes leaving behind the “land of brunch and misery” and the changes it brings about in friendships. The song is the hardest rocking on the record, with chiming guitars and throbbing drums.

Compare this to the slinky “Truth Lies,” certainly the smoothest groove in Bird’s catalogue, or the stately “Chemical Switches,” which opens with a countdown, followed by a simple guitar and whistling. “The New St. Jude” could have come from Paul Simon’s Graceland, a chirping, funky, galloping tune. Are You Serious contains more modes than songs, a diverse collection held together by Bird’s voice and violin, and the sheer energy of the music. (

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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