We rarely get to peek behind-the-scenes at a musician's songwriting process. Singers and bands put out their albums, go on tour playing those songs, then return to the studio to write and record some more — and we don't hear much about it till the next album arrives, fully formed.
Andrew Bird is doing things a bit differently: Recently, he blogged for the New York Times about the process of putting together his next album. In his essay, Bird described himself as different from the singer-songwriter who comes up with lyrics and then searches for the right tune:
Since I can remember, I’ve had melodies in my head. I chew my food to them. . . . What is becoming more challenging of late is dealing with so many fully formed melodies that are unwilling to change their shape for any word. So writing lyrics becomes like running multiple code-breaking programs in your head until just the right word with just the right number of syllables, tone of vowel and finally some semblance of meaning all snap into place.
He explained how that affected his writing of one new song, "Oh No," and You Ain't No Picasso just alerted me to a live video of Bird performing the song. On top of appealing to the nerd in me who wants to know how lyrics and melodies come together, it's also just great to hear something new from Bird. To check out the video (don't worry, the camera calms down after about 15 seconds), just read more.