Best Albums of 2009


Fev 7 2010, 4h46

#4 – Andrew BirdNoble Beast

Switching gears from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, we have Andrew Bird’s Noble Beast. While some people form a band and churn out albums every so often to appease the fans and the label, Mr. Bird is what I would consider a music professional. Aside from his solo career, he’s dabbled in a variety of projects including various bands, musical score writing, even teaching music theory. New for 2009 was his album, Noble Beast, a folksy, acoustically heavy album featuring some of the richest lyrics I’ve every heard. Mostly I pay no attention to the words sang by performers. Sometimes it’s because I usually can’t make heads or tails of what they are screaming about or better for it because the words were never that good to begin with. Andrew Birds words are very much prominent in the production of the album and really make the songs shine. I usually view singing voices as simply another instrument in the song, and while that same caveat applies here, you can’t help but get caught up in the word-play. Andrew Bird isn’t afraid to use various rhyming structures and big words, sometimes fusing an interesting hybrid of folk-rap. Opening song “Oh No” gets right to that point with lines like “In the salsify mains of what was thought but unsaid/ all the calcified arithmetists were doing the math.” Don’t feel discouraged if you can’t sing along. Another staple of the songs is a healthy dose of whistling, apparently another talent of Mr. Birds. And whistle along you most likely will. After “Oh No” we have “Masterswarm” the best track on the album. Starting off slow with low-key intro, it changes tempo, adding clicks and claps - playful strings and a healthy dose of the aforementioned whistling. “Fitz and the Dizzyspells” is a fun jangly tune, one of the more upbeat tracks. “Tenuousness” layers on the acoustic rhythm guitars. Try to sing along to “From proto-sanskrit Minoans to Porto-centric Lisboans/ Greek Cypriots and the harbor sorts who hang around in ports a lot” and you’ll see that the craft and emphasis on lyrical structure are by no means an afterthought. Here the album sort of changes things up, starting with the bridge “Ouo”. While the first half, while stellar, doesn’t get too radical, “Not A Robot, But A Ghost” starts to add some different elements. There is ominous piano, some synth elements and feedback giving the track a rather epic feel, especially when there’s a breakdown midway through. “Anonanimal” shies away from simple melodic hooks and I recommend checking this song out with a healthy pair of headphones. The layers and detail are really what make this track and I’d liken it to fine art. Some people can stare at a painting or sculpture for hours taking in the intricacies and the amount of detail inherent in this song does not deserved to be wasted. “Natural Disaster” is a bit more straight-forward and slightly depressing, giving it a slight country feeling. “Souverian” starts off a bit like something out of Beck’s Sea Change and wistfully jumps through various styles and structures. And lastly the outro “On Ho” signals the end with a poignant violin and not much else. This is a rather exhausting album, with 14 tracks and close to an hour of material. It’s a bit much to take in one sitting due to its massive scale and layers but every bit should certainly be heard. Noble Beast has beauty and creativity that is rarely matched by its contemporaries.

- Highlights -
Oh No
Not A Robot, But A Ghost


  • That_Scientist

    my personal highlight was Anonanimal, that's just one hell of a song that's near 'perfect', if not perfect.

    Fev 7 2010, 18h06
  • Glisterine

    As amazing as "Anonanimal" is, "Not a Robot" still takes the cake.

    Mar 16 2010, 1h20
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