By: Donovan Taylor Hall

“Break it Yourself,” Andrew Bird’s latest album, gracefully brings back the art of story telling with songs. Combining music with social commentary — he makes you think, not just listen.

This is Bird’s seventh record Bird has released in the past 15 years. And, while many critics believed his last disc, “Noble Beast,” was his best work — he may have topped it.

“Break it Yourself” is filled with powerful messages involving life, love and the struggle to survive.

Combining Bird’s unique sound, such as the constant use of whistling and symphonic strings, with his philosophical lyrics helped create one sleepy journey into our minds that suddenly, and without warning, blooms into a masterpiece of substance, symphonies and social commentary.

Known for his thought-provoking lyrics, Bird uses the songs on this album to make statements about the world through clever metaphors and catchy choruses.

The song “Behind the Barn” is about the barn that the album was recorded in and where his roots in music actually began. It also seems like a nostalgic thank you to his past and a somewhat longing for the simplicity that came from his earlier days in music.

The one song that stuck out to me the most, was actually the first track on the CD, titled “Desperation Breeds….” The song is about the disappearance of bees in our environment and their struggle to survive. Cleverly, a violin mimics the bee. Although the song focuses on the flight of the bees, its underlying message  relates back to people and their daily struggles to survive.

In his more recent albums Bird has featured the guitar more, giving his music that indie rock feel. But in “Break it Yourself,” Bird returns to incorporating heavy strings turning the songs into graceful symphonies.

verall, the album plays like a beautiful, yet sometimes haunting, dream told in the form of a story.