Compiling the best songs about birds is tricky. Many great ones are too metaphorical ("Bird On A Wire" by Leonard Cohen, "Freebird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd) and many literal ones are not great ("I'm Like A Bird" by Nelly Furtado). Continuing the Nitpick Six series about animal songs, here are the six best songs about birds. Let us know your favorite avian songs by commenting below or sending a messenger pigeon to the RFT offices.
6. Maps & Atlases - "Pigeon" Chicago's Maps & Atlases is no stranger to avian imagery. Its first legitimate release was 2006's Trees, Swallows, Houses, and the highlight of its 2010 album Perch Patchwork is a bouncy slice entitled "Pigeon." David Davison sings "When a pigeon comes to greet you / Sometimes it's hard to tell / Exactly what it means," you can easily visualize the chubby bird waddling up to the singer. I always imagine he's sitting on a park bench, because pigeons tend to gravitate towards cities large enough to have public transportation. Maybe Davison gets his wizard-like guitar powers from his communications with birds -- or maybe they just like to nest inside his Whisker Wars-worthy beard.
5. John Denver - "The Eagle And The Hawk" John Denver's tunes are generally subdued, but "The Eagle And The Hawk" captures the triumphant spirit of the fierce birds in its title. The gung-ho orchestration gives a backbone to otherwise hollow metaphors like freedom and touching mountain tops. It sort of feels like a Yes song, but all sauce and no noodles. And the lyric "There's blood on my feathers" is pretty badass, especially for somebody who had Kermit on speed dial.
4. The Trashmen - "Surfin Bird" "Everybody's heard about the bird," claims The Trashmen's singer Tony Andreason. Quite an assumptive claim, but he gives the backstory in case anybody is uninformed: "Bird, bird bird," he continues. "Bird, bird's the word." But Andreason is not satisfied with the nine variations of the line, so he inquires, "Don't you know about the bird?" This might make you pause and second guess your knowledge of the subject. If you don't know about the bird, then what else don't you know about? What else are they not teaching us in school? I thought I knew about the bird, but what is so dire and important, Trashmen? Tell me, I must know! "Everybody knows bird is the word," Andreason replies, his elastic voice as comforting as a blanket warm with the body heat of a litter of newborn puppies.
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