Andrew Bird’s one-man orchestra of the imagination


Well, there’s lots to talk about, but I think I’m just going to play to start off. (Music) ♫ When I wake up ♫ ♫ in the morning ♫ ♫ I pour the coffee ♫ ♫ I read the paper ♫ ♫ And then I slowly ♫ ♫ and so softly ♫ ♫ do the dishes ♫ ♫ So feed the fishes ♫ ♫ You sing me happy birthday ♫ ♫ Like it’s gonna be ♫ ♫ your last day ♫ ♫ here on Earth ♫ (Applause) All right. So, I wanted to do something special today. I want to debut a new song that I’ve been working on in the last five or six months. And there’s few things more thrilling than playing a song for the first time in front of an audience, especially when it’s half-finished. (Laughter) I’m kind of hoping some conversations here might help me finish it. Because it gets into all sorts of crazy realms. And so this is basically a song about loops, but not the kind of loops that I make up here. They’re feedback loops. And in the audio world that’s when the microphone gets too close to its sound source, and then it gets in this self-destructive loop that creates a very unpleasant sound. And I’m going to demonstrate for you. (Laughter) I’m not going to hurt you. Don’t worry. ♫ This is a loop, feedback loop ♫ ♫ This is a loop, feedback loop ♫ ♫ This is a loop, feedback loop ♫ ♫ This is a loop, feedback loop ♫ ♫ This is a loop, feedback loop ♫ ♫ This is a loop, feedback loop ♫ ♫ This is a — (Feedback) All right. I don’t know if that was necessary to demonstrate — (Laughter) — but my point is it’s the sound of self-destruction. And I’ve been thinking about how that applies across a whole spectrum of realms, from, say, the ecological, okay. There seems to be a rule in nature that if you get too close to where you came from, it gets ugly. So like, you can’t feed cows their own brains or you get mad cow disease, and inbreeding and incest and, let’s see, what’s the other one? Biological — there’s autoimmune diseases, where the body attacks itself a little too overzealously and destroys the host, or the person. And then — okay, this is where we get to the song — kind of bridges the gap to the emotional. Because although I’ve used scientific terms in songs, it’s very difficult sometimes to make them lyrical. And there’s some things you just don’t need to have in songs. So I’m trying to bridge this gap between this idea and this melody. And so, I don’t know if you’ve ever had this, but when I close my eyes sometimes and try to sleep, I can’t stop thinking about my own eyes. And it’s like your eyes start straining to see themselves. That’s what it feels like to me. It’s not pleasant. I’m sorry if I put that idea in your head. (Laughter) It’s impossible, of course, for your eyes to see themselves, but they seem to be trying. So that’s getting a little more closer to a personal experience. Or ears being able to hear themselves — it’s just impossible. That’s the thing. So, I’ve been working on this song that mentions these things and then also imagines a person who’s been so successful at defending themselves from heartbreak that they’re left to do the deed themselves, if that’s possible. And that’s what the song is asking. All right. It doesn’t have a name yet. (Music) ♫ Go ahead and congratulate yourself ♫ ♫ Give yourself a hand, the hand is your hand ♫ ♫ And the eye that eyes itself is your eye ♫ ♫ And the ear that hears itself is near ♫ ♫ ‘Cause it’s your ear, oh oh ♫ ♫ You’ve done the impossible now ♫ ♫ Took yourself apart ♫ ♫ You made yourself invulnerable ♫ ♫ No one can break your heart ♫ ♫ So you wear it out ♫ ♫ And you wring it out ♫ ♫ And you wear it out ♫ ♫ And you break it yourself ♫ ♫ Breaking your own, break it yourself ♫ ♫ Breaking your own, break it yourself ♫ ♫ Breaking your own ♫ (Applause) Thanks. (Applause) All right. It’s kind of cool. Songwriters can sort of get away with murder. You can throw out crazy theories and not have to back it up with data or graphs or research. But, you know, I think reckless curiosity would be what the world needs now, just a little bit. (Applause) I’m going to finish up with a song of mine called “Weather Systems.” (Music) ♫ Quiet ♫ ♫ Quiet down, she said ♫ ♫ Speak into the back of his head ♫ ♫ On the edge of the bed, I can see your blood flow ♫ ♫ I can see your ♫ ♫ cells grow ♫ ♫ Hold still awhile ♫ ♫ Don’t spill the wine ♫ ♫ I can see it all from here ♫ ♫ I can see ♫ ♫ oh, I ♫ ♫ I can see ♫ ♫ weather systems ♫ ♫ of the world ♫ ♫ Weather systems ♫ ♫ of the world ♫ ♫ Some things you say ♫ ♫ are not for sale ♫ ♫ I would hold it where ♫ ♫ our free agents of some substance are ♫ ♫ scared ♫ ♫ Hold still a while ♫ ♫ Don’t spill the wine ♫ ♫ I can see it all from here ♫ ♫ I can see ♫ ♫ oh, I ♫ ♫ I can see ♫ ♫ weather systems of the world ♫ ♫ Weather systems ♫ ♫ of the world ♫ Thanks. (Applause)

99 thoughts on “Andrew Bird’s one-man orchestra of the imagination

  1. I disagree with "It's the sound of self-destruction." He's only saying that because the sound is unpleasant, technically it's the sound of self-creation or even over-creation. It is the sound of an extreme number of fractal iterations. It creates more sound out of itself, it doesn't destroy the sound.

  2. it could just be nerves, I play music and I wouldn't call myself an introvert at all but I am terrible at talking to audiences

  3. Seanze, it looks like you finally got a little attention. As far as 'shallow hipsters', well, it's stamped on the back of your teeshirt. Just sayin

  4. I recommend this kind of video clip. Love You tube for this sort of info…My homeboy had been bullied. He stated he was planning to get bigger. I laughed… Until all of a sudden he packed on 40lbs of full-strength lean muscle mass. He used the Muscle Building Bible (Google it). He does not get bullied anymore. 🙂

    I registered earlier this week. See what the results are. Plus this guys emails are awesome…

  5. Like this comment if you think "eyeoneye" sounds better here on Ted than the direction that the song was taken into.

  6. Exactly. He's so at home & comfortable playing music for & with people, and yet its excruciatingly painful & difficult for him to record his music in a studio, even when said studio is on his remote farm in rural Illinois. The reality of this strikes you when you see him perform live in person-he seems to spiritually/mentally blend with his audience in a terribly profound way, creating a great deal of joy in the people he plays for.

  7. Dude, most musicians write "in timely fashion" for their music producers & their followers. Andrew's stuff bubbles out from a deeper place in the mind that you can't control. Welcome to the world of true art.

  8. Nah, it would only take egotism & narcissism if you're an ass. Otherwise it just takes self-acceptance. I'll take Andrew Bird exactly as he is though. He is brilliant.

  9. The one-man loop thing IS overdone. Most of us can tell that Andrew is a true artist with it. You are lost in your projections & ideas about people. One day you might discover life. You took a phrase & an idea meant to induce wonder & other right-brained activity & turned it into a science question. Reductionistic. Thank God the whole of humanity hasn't been reduced to a Left Brain.

  10. No? Self acceptance takes some ego. It doesn't mean you're an ass, if you don't have enough ego then its a lot harder to have confidence. A better word would be balance.

  11. "You are lost in your projections," "one day you might discover life," "thank God the whole of humanity hasn't been reduced to a Left Brain"…

    wow. hey guy… please, stop talking like the biggest ass hat that ever lived.

  12. He has released 10+ albums and a lot of miscellaneous stuff. I think you're allowed to slow down a little bit at that point.

  13. Crazy clip. Fine vid.

    My pal was formerly a fatty. He went from 285 lbs of pure fat into 207lbs of pure lean muscle. I became astonished. I just signed up personally because I'm looking to get enormous muscles. He made use of the Muscle Building Bible (Search on Google)…

  14. If it is the end of the world or last day of my life, I wish I could listen to Andrew on the radio till he says 'good night' and I can close my eyes.

  15. Sometimes, he sounds like Tim Buckley. Gorgeous performance, by the way. I like the guy, he has a NPR Tiny desk live that is greeeeat.

  16. wish they could have a recording of what he first played 🙁 im mesmerized by everything that song holds

  17. Lovely use of multi layered instruments something I am trying to do too 
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcnPuOMTJEg&t=16s

  18. why is it that the second song starts like the theme song of "31 minutos" and the puppet on the background is basically one character from 31 minutos?

  19. I always come back to watch his performance here… even after six years. Still breathtaking as the first time

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