I’ve been your fan for a little less than a year, since the day I was driving around Indy and really heard “Oh No” on a mix disk I’d had for a while. I called my daughter and asked her, “What is that weird song about harmless sociopaths?”
“It’s Andrew Bird,” she said. “He’s wonderful.”
I’ve seen you twice since then, in Louisville and Buffalo, and I can’t wait to see you here in my hometown. My daughter was right, as always. You are wonderful, stunningly handsome and somehow innocent, though you must know how good you look in those sweat-drenched dress shirts. I’m just grateful all men don’t look like you, or I would never get anything done. On the other hand, I do wish all men whistled the way you do. Honestly, men should whistle instead of talking; it would be very cute, and most of them would get in way less trouble.
When I pay close attention to what you do with all the instruments you play, I get tired. So I just listen and watch how you settle in with the venue and the crowd. You don’t seem very comfortable when you perform at festivals. You can’t do all the looping stuff you like so much, and you aren’t really direct enough to capture a distracted crowd, so you seem to either disengage or get drunk. When you’re more comfortable, you’re a very endearing performer, though somewhat aloof. I like that about you.
As a writer, you have a distinctive viewpoint—one I really identify with. You’re the Wes Anderson of song. You trace the rough edges of what it means to be human, with all the absurd barriers we create to our own peace and pleasure. No one has written as many good songs about the corrosive effect of overthink. I love these lines from “Masterfade”:
“I saw you standing all alone in the electrostatic rain
I thought at last I’d found a situation you can’t explain
With GPS you know it’s all just a matter of degrees
Your happiness won’t find you underneath that canopy of trees”
Actually, I hate those lines. You’re too good at capturing the way people try not to feel and connect. In “Imitosis,” you write about the pathetic effort to avoid self:
“He’s keeping busy
Yeah he’s bleeding stones
With his machinations and his palindromes
It was anything but hear the voice
That says that we’re all basically alone”
Well, for sure. We are all basically alone. Except when we’re not. And I never feel alone when I listen to you.