ALBUM REVIEW: "My Finest Work Yet" - Andrew Bird
The album title might give off the impression that Andrew Bird has gone egomaniacal, but the reality is that My Finest Work Yet is his most down-to-earth project yet.
His usage of fairytale-like orchestration for harsh truths or sad ballads is what gives this album a narrative for every whimsical wordplay or poignant parables. This time, that fairytale is a conduit for more naked honesty. My Finest Work Yet is probably Andrew Bird at his most political and frustrated. You can hear him announcing this in the snare drum artillery that heralds the voluminous opening track Sisyphus, the disco rhythms of Proxy War and even the quaint whistling of Manifest. Each song has its own tale, it's own message.
Underneath these messages, myths find a home in Andrew Bird’s metaphors, evident from the very first track which includes one of my favourite verses in the whole album.
“Sisyphus peered into the mist
A stone's throw from the precipice, paused
Did he jump or did he fall as he gazed into the maw of the morning mist?
Did he raise both fists and say, "To hell with this" and just let the rock roll”
There's the fist-clenching resilience in lyrics like “I'd rather fail like a mortal, than fail like a god”. Andrew Bird embraces the futility of human civilization, saying that it's way more honorable to appear weak and fall once in a while, than to be like the purportedly cunning Sisyphus; thinking that he's outsmarted the gods as he's damned to endless purgatory. The way this album flows is brilliant. Every gorgeous cut is interspersed with some kind of intensity like the scratchy opening to “Fallorun”, or the thumping march of “Don the Struggle”. Whatever you get from the multi-coloured tapestry of "My Finest Work Yet", it's hard to deny that the album blends and sharpens all of what's made Andrew Bird great. The title doesn't lie.
FAV TRACK: Manifest, Archipelago, Don the Struggle, Olympians WORST TRACK: Cracking Codes
RATING: 4.5 / 5