I've been trying to find this album for a while. I've been all over record stores in Colorado trying to find Bird Brains. I think that it was out of stock because of the newest Tune Yards release. I finally go tmy hands on this album as a birthday present. I've been listening to it ever since I got it on Friday. I think it is time for a review. (Avid readers of my blog...Did you realize that this is the first "Albums I got at the libary" album reivew in a while?)
This one starts off slow, and somewhat relaxing. The vocals come in not too long afterwards. Everything is light in this song. Then we hear some sampling? Is it a conversation? What does this have to do with anything? Anyway it is cool. (or fresh)
We go right into the next song, and this time we hear drums in the mix. When I first heard this, I wondered "So we went from sampling, to drums, to bass, and then to vocals in just about 1 minute? I haven't heard this sequence before." I like this song. There isn't a lot in it, but it is diffrent in a good way, and it really stands out. I'll talk about this later, but this is why the whole album stands out to me; it isn't anything I've heard before, and I've heard a lot.
The music slowed down a little on this song. I feel like this was done on purpose. Usally when a slow song is after a fast song, it brings more attention to the lyrics. I'm not going to do an "lyrical annalysis" on this album and on this song, but I can say that they are pretty deep although they don't "sound deep". I just have that feeling, when I listen to this. "No it can't be about Lions, it just can't be, these lyrics are too deep".
This is is the First Tune-Yards song that I've heard, and I remember exactly what I thought "What the Hell is this? Why am I listening to this? I like this. I don't know why I like it, but I want to listen to more of this." Ever since then, I've been trying to find this album. I don't want to use unusual, but that is what this song is. (well it is in a good way). You have ukelele action going on, vocal loops, and Garbus' one of a kind voice. I know what is going to happen when you listen to this song, you'll think "this sure is different" and then near the end of the song, you realize that is a pretty good song. (Its even better without the band!)
Things get faster on this one, but the tempo of the last song remains the same. If you want to want to see how good Merrill's voice is, I recommend this song. I honestly haven't heard someone hit a high note that high while playing ukelele. (no really!). I also think that these lyrics are signifigant, but again without doing an album annalysis, we have more simple
(did she sample a kid coughing? That is pretty good right there). Jamacican is similar to the last song, but the beat is a little bit stronger, and the vocal delevery are just a little bit stronger, this most strong right around the second half of the song.
This is the "halway" point song, or in other words, this is the song that lets me know if an album is worth listening to or not. This time around, I can say that "Jumpin Jack" is a song that I want to listen to; it has a strong opeing, intresting beat, and a captovating melody which I find intresting. This is a very good song all around.
Going off of my "Halfway point Song rule" this song will be the longest song until we reach the last part of the album. I feel like Little Tiger would be skipped over a lot because it is a slow song (it might be the slowest) on the album. It is worth listening to though because you hear some really good lyircs. And if you don't want to listen to good lyrics (who wouldn't?) you get to hear some pretty intracate ukelae work. I personally haven't heard a ukele sond that has sounded this good. Another great song.
I thought that Merrill was done with the awesome ukele songs, but that was a wrong thought on my part. There really isn't too much on this song, basiclly uke, some occasional precusion, loops and vocals. so its pretty "light".
"FIRE!!!!" Probably the best sample in a song on this album. If you live in the United States, you probably heard the first part of this song in a Black Berry Torch commercial. It was all over the place. One Saturday, I was half asleep trying to watch some TV and then I was awakened by the awesme ukele intro "I've heard this someplace...But where?" Then with some thinking and researching, I found this song. "Something told me that this was Tune-Yards"...I knew it.
Back to the song. I love this song. I highly recomend listening to this song right now just so you can experence the lyrics. I love them so much. Musicly speaking, this song is slower, but not as slow as Saftey, but the lyrics and vocal delivery are better than Saftey (heck it is all on the same album, so everything is equally good to me). Come on, this lyric is great!
what if my own skin makes my skin crawl?
what if my own flesh is suburban sprawl?
what happened between us makes sense if i'm nothing
What happened between up makes sense if I am nothing, you're all if I am nothing at all.
Fiya flows really well into the next song too.
I could talk about how genius these lyrics are, but I don't want to bore you with that (trust me, you don't want me to talk about metaphors and things right?) so I'll just talk about how awesome the arrangement is on this song. I know that I've talked about the slow songs a lot on this review, but this is THE slow song on Bird Brains. It is a work of art. Seriously. Merrill's voice is spot on, the ukelele melody is great and if that isn't good enough, it flows right into the next song well.
Want me To
This is a "hybrid" between Synonyonym and a faster song. Just wait for the first bridge; the ukelele and the bridge go along together like pen and paper (or Merrill and a Boss Loop Station...) then the second slower bridge comes in, and then my mind explodes every time. This is song is great. If you are just getting into Tune-Yards, I woud recomend this song or the next song "real live Flesh as a first listen. Not because they are "easy" to listen to but because they are good.
Real Live Flesh
I heard this song once, and I automatically knew that I had to buy this as soon as possible (that was probably someplace between Hatari and Fiya). I was blown away. Then I forgot all about this song. (yeah, I know...) And then I was at this party not too long ago, and the DJ sampled some of this song. (I was probably at Titwench...I know for a fact that someone sampled this!!!). I enjoy listening to this song so much. Everything is good. The beat, vocals, arrangement. Everything is good! This is how you end an album everyone! You go out with a bang! And then you also create a pretty good video to go along with your song.
Merrill Garbus is a boss. I don't know anyone who can create something this great with a Ukelele, a boss loop station, microphones and some drums (Proof. Yeah, its Real Live Flesh Again). Even crazier, this album was released in 2009! It is still relevant in 2011, where we still try to be "cool" with deluxe loop stations and Ukeleles. I think this is the album that made ukeleles cool in Indie Rock (Trust me I looked and I couldn't find any other album relevant to indie rock that featured ukeleles before 2009.) I can safely say that Bird Brains was ahead of its time. It was so ahead in fact, it took me two years to find it. I hope it doesn't take you nearly as long.