[The New Classics is a reoccurring segment in which we examine our favorite indie releases that are bound to replace our parent’s “classic rock” stash hidden in the attic or the basement. These aren’t reviews, these are unedited testimonies and opinions about why we love what we love. Can we get a witness?]
Words by Jim
Album: The Mysterious Production of Eggs
Artist: Andrew Bird
Released: February 8, 2005
Label: Righteous Babe
Producers: Andrew Bird & David Boucher
I first encountered Mr. Andrew Bird when I was a freshman in college. I’d never heard of this avian gentleman until my roommate randomly played him one night while I was studying and he was, well, definitely not studying. I vividly remember the moment in time as I’ve often thought back to it. I was at a time in my life where music was singularly THE most important thing and listening to the swirling violin melodies of Bird immediately moved something inside of me. I recall I was also a bit annoyed that I’d never heard of him before that fateful night, because being a bright young college student I obviously knew everything about everything all at once and how dare my roommate know about this first! Harumph.
I didn’t know my roommate when we moved in, but we got along pretty well. We had different majors and different lifestyles and very different schedules, so we didn’t spend a whole lot of time together. When we did happen to be in the same room (most likely eating Easy Mac and stalking girls on that shiny new Facebook contraption), we talked about music. He was a musician and so was I. He offered up a lot of different bands for me to listen to, but most of them weren’t my thing. He was more into Tool than Built to Spill, so you can imagine that when he started talking about Andrew Bird I kind of let it go in one ear and through the other.
I sat up and took notice when he played me Weather Systems. I’d never heard anything like this before in my life. What the fuck was this? But hold up yo, this New Classic isn’t about the tremendous Weather Systems album, but instead focuses on The Mysterious Production of Eggs.Why wouldn’t I discuss the album that got me started on my forever long Andrew Bird fandom? Simply put, Weather Systems was my roommate’s album and The Mysterious Production of Eggs became mine. All mine. Wholly mine. Forever mine.
Mysterious Production (as it will now be referred to) is a whirlwind of everything Andrew Bird awesome. To the feeble, naive, freshman college mind, these were sounds and songs the likes I had never heard before. “Untitled” set the mood immediately with swirling, shifting, rotating violin strokes and ghostly whistles and just as it reaches its climax, everything gets pulled away in a “HEY! GOTCHA” moment as Bird treats us to the lovely “Sovay”. This simple example illustrates what the album is all about. The epitome of Mysterious Production is mood and flow and vibe. The songs wax and wane, hinging on the orchestral storm of Bird’s multi-tracked violin. I’m not sure if I could name half the songs on the album, but I know all the words and have memorized all the mental images. This album is so vivid and wonderful that I find myself slipping into color synesthesia (which I don’t have – this album is just that powerful). Mysterious Production is red and gold. Does that even make sense?
There’s a lot to love on Mysterious Production. Songs like “A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left” and “Measuring Cups” are two examples of just fucking awesome songs that are unique and accessible, constantly shifting in shape and space. Bird crams so much stuff into every performance that it’s hard not to get swept away with the ranging rhythms and quirky turns of phrase. Undoubtedly, Bird’s vocals are near the top of my awesome sauce list on this album (and in general). He’s the proud owner of one of the best voices (and whistles) in modern music and that’s no joke. His range is tremendous and he has an uncanny ability to be both commanding and inviting. Unreal.
So yeah, that’s all good stuff, but I’ll proudly say that lyrics really take the cake for me. Bird immediately wowed me with his constantly whirling web of powerfully vivid penmanship. Regardless of what it all means and the underlying themes (which I know exist because that’s just how he is), Bird’s lyrics are immaginative, colorful, and fun. Check out this insane bridge on the epic “Tables and Chairs”:
I know we’re gonna meet someday
In the crumbled financial institutions of this land
There will be tables and chairs
Pony rides and dancing bears
There’ll even be a band
‘Cause listen after the fall there’ll be no more countries
No currencies at all
We’re gonna live on our wits
Throw away survival kits
Trade butterfly knives for Adderal
And that’s not all
There will be snacks, there will
There will be snacks!
He’s totally insane and his wildly creative imagination is what keeps me listening and seeing his live shows and enjoying every bit of it. On The Mysterious Production of Eggs, Mr.Andrew Bird made it very clear to me that he is a tremendously talented musician, and although he might not be making any political statements or saving lives, he’s damn well creating beautiful music and having fun doing it. I’d be willing to be that if we ever do reach those end of modern days that he so vividly describes in “Tables and Chairs”, Bird will be there marching along to his own drummer, making music, with plenty of snacks in tow.
Take a ride on the swirling violin melodies of Andrew Bird’s The Mysterious Production of Eggs and tell us what you think. If you haven’t heard, be sure to pick it up at Insound.
Filed under: New Classics