‘Make a Picture’ makes for perfect summer tune


Photo courtesy of Genius

Violinist Andrew Bird will be releasing the album “Inside Problems” on June 3. Bird has debuted the song “Make a Picture” on May 26 that will be featured in his newest album.

By Sydney Wood, buzz Editor

Like many of Andrew Bird’s music, the violin is the main singer in his latest single, “Make a Picture.” 

Released on May 26, the song begins with a driving percussive rhythm and strong violin riff that glides into the first verse. As the tune builds, the violin is supplemented by vocals and instrumentals that swell and dip in accordance with switches between verses and choruses. The tune ends with the same riff, but this time, it’s by itself with no accompanying drumbeat, creating an exposed, vulnerable feeling. 

Bird’s latest studio album, “Inside Problems,” will come out on June 3 via Loma Vista. He’s issued three tunes in preparation for the release, including “Make a Picture,” “Underlands” and “Atomized.”

In March, Bird released “Atomized” and its associated music video. About a month later, he announced the release of “Inside Problems” with the release of “Underlands.” 

The singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has released numerous albums, EPs and singles since his entry into the Chicagoland music scene in 1992. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Katherine Tsina, and his son. 

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Most of Bird’s music arrives at the intersection where swing, jazz, rock and blues meet, engaging in a four-way collision that illustrates the ways in which he fuses and gains inspiration from these various genres. In his newer tunes, however, he delves deeper into the realm of folk-pop.  

“Make a Picture” is a purposefully optimistic tune that denies external attempts to overturn one’s internal positivity. The tune highlights Bird’s signature otherworldly violin melodies, which are a focal point of the music as it ebbs and flows in volume.  

In “Make a Picture,” Bird evokes the classical sound of the violin while merging it with the more contemporary influences of pop and folk, creating a tune that is simultaneously upbeat and calming. These two energies are typically difficult to balance, but Bird has achieved it countless times, not only in “Make a Picture,” but also in “Pulaski,” “Pulaski at Night” and “Sisyphus.”

Bird has a unique way of pronouncing certain words, and he’s not consistent with his pronunciations either. At times, he’ll pronounce “giving” like “GEE-ving,” drag out the “u” sound in “put” or sing “denizens on dirty hooks” in an intense staccato style that nearly makes it indecipherable. It’s almost as if he adopts a pseudo-dialect to ensure that all of his verses fit the same number of syllables and the overall folksy style of the tune, making the song have a neat, clean-cut structure and style. 

Although his voice itself isn’t outright extraordinary, Bird’s voice accompanies the other instrumentals well, creating a nice balance between his primarily lower-toned vocals, the violin melodies and choral background harmonies. Not only does the pitch of Bird’s voice complement the violin melody, the placement of vocals pairs nicely with the instrument, so there are multiple moments where his vocals are spotlighted more than the violin melody — and vice versa. 

“Make a Picture” is indicative of Bird’s continuously evolving style, showcasing his raw talent as a songwriter, musician and violinist. Released less than a week and a half before June 3, the tune is the perfect precursor to the arrival of “Inside Problems” on Friday. 

“Make a Picture” is a refreshing tune and perfect for the optimistic vibe of the seasonal transition from spring to summer. The tune is polished and well-articulated without sounding over-produced or autotuned, which is indicative of Bird’s many years of experience in the music industry. 

Speaking of summer, Bird is going on his “Outside Problems Tour” next month, co-headlining with folk-rock singer-songwriter Iron & Wine. It’ll be his first full-band tour in nearly three years. Although Chicago tickets are already sold out, there are a few tickets available for the tour’s stop at the TCU Amphitheatre at White River State Park in Indianapolis, Ind. 


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