The Bird and The Bee
The Bird and The Bee
(Metro Blue/Blue Note)
First Appeared in The Music Box, February 2007, Volume 14, #2
Written by John Metzger
The problem with folding Tropicalia into Europop is that it is apt to produce nothing more than a lightweight soundtrack for a cocktail party. Nevertheless, The Bird and the Bee sufficiently makes the case on its self-titled debut that perhaps such a combination could work on a larger scale. Granted, at first glance, this isnít immediately apparent, and the songsí infectious melodies and chirpy, electronic beats appear almost entirely to be constructed by enveloping the modern folk-pop of Jem within a Brazilian jazz motif. However, as tracks like Iím a Broken Heart and La La La suggest ó the former tune dresses sorrow in sunshine by coloring the melancholia of Pet Sounds-era Brian Wilson with the bright, horn-splattered arrangements of Burt Bacharach, while the latter cut embraces a perky í60s groove that immediately conjures images of Austin Powers ó thereís more to The Bird and the Bee than initially meets the eye.
Though the music treads lightly, riding upon the breezy currents of The Bird and the Beeís multilayered arrangements, the lyrics penned by Inara George and Greg Kurstin pack a punch. The coy but aggressive manner in which George sings them only enhances their bite. "I would be so winning, so absolutely winning," she states before asking in a condescendingly angered tone, "Would you ever be my...would you ever be my fucking boyfriend?"
Although George also demonstrates her vulnerability (on My Fair Lady, for example), it is her angst and her frustration with relationships that fuels much of The Bird and the Beeís material. She oscillates between love and hate on Again & Again, and she relays her weariness with this repetitive pattern on Because. Overall, the collection emits a general disdain with the way that men and women behave, and her answer is simply to level the playing field by standing up for herself as an individual. "Are you prepared for serenity? Are prepared to disagree? Are you prepared...are you prepared for me?" she playfully inquires as the hypnotic music first enhances and then seductively cushions the menacing threat within her words, thus driving home the point that sharing equal footing isnít nearly as perilous as it initially may seem. In fact, it can be quite comforting. In the end, itís precisely the ingenious manner in which The Bird and the Beeís lyrics and its arrangements intertwine to support one another that makes its eponymous endeavor so resonant. Ĺ
Of Further Interest...
The Bird and The Bee is available from
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2007 The Music Box