It wasn’t until Andrew Bird’s 13th studio album that he was able to open himself up to make his most personal record yet. Are You Serious, released April 1, takes listeners on the journey that Bird experienced through getting married, having a child, and watching his wife battle cancer.
In previous albums, Bird kept his personal life out of the music and emphasized his instrumental work. This album breaks his own rules in tracks like “Puma,” which gives audiences a front-row seat into his wife’s battle with cancer. This song, although tragic in nature, is paired with an eclectic sound that makes listeners hopeful for her prognosis.
Straying from his traditional sound, “Valleys Of The Young” brings a melancholy feel to the album. Lyrically the song address some of the challenges Bird and his wife faced as being one of the first couples in their friend group to have a child. The first verse sets the tone for this heartfelt struggle of new parenthood: “Do you need a reason?/Should we commit treason/And bring into this world a son?”
Title song “Are You Serious” sticks with Bird’s signature precise instrumental work. The opening of the song sounds like it could be the theme song to a 1960s mystery movie with its mystic tone. Bird’s plucking of the violin gives the song this spooky element, which sets the tone for the track.
Are You Serious, to older fans, may feel like a sellout, but Bird managed to keep all his signature sounds while giving fans a glimpse into his personal life.