Staff Pick: Andrew Bird brings clarity to Are You Serious

Andy Downing, Columbus Alive

Andrew Bird's past albums tended to be denser, more coded affairs, with the singer, songwriter and violinist choosing words as much for their phonetic qualities as their perceived meanings. For instance, Bird said he was drawn to the word sovay, even naming a song for it onAndrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs, from 2005, in part because he couldn't completely unlock its meaning.

WithAre You Serious, released earlier this year, the musician adopted a more straightforward pose, penning heartfelt, largely guitar-driven pop-rock songs that reflect his current station in life (Bird is a married father). On the title track, Bird even pokes some mild fun at his past predilection for word games. "You used to be so willfully obtuse," he sings. "Or is the word abstruse?"

Either way, he's speaking with more clarity these days.

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