Favourite Songs About Birds
(which are really about love)
Birds have a fairly long symbolic history. They are hunters, seekers and scavengers, lovers, harbingers/omens (both good and bad), guardians and sages. They are symbols for the struggle to freedom, have been admired, worshipped, feared….and eaten….for centuries.
Considering all that we take them to represent, it’s no real surprise that they crop up frequently in art – audio, visual and probably just about any other medium you can think of. So, with that in mind I’ve compiled a quick list of some of my favourite songs that have reflected upon life or love, using the image and/or theme of birds.
New Birds by Arab Strap
From the album Philophobia, the song is one chapter of a 13-track story exploring sex and love – the suburban side of relationships rather than your typical epic tragedies or grand declarations. New Birds tells the story of seeing an old love again for the first time in years, the awkwardness, the curiosity and then the temptation of opportunity (even though both have ‘new birds’ – ie are in relationships with other people).
“…you can’t remember how she kissed and now you’ve got the chance to find out. But you have to remember there’s this other kiss. She’s at home wondering where you are and what you’re doing. And you worked hard on this kiss and you know it inside out, it’s as much yours as it is hers.”
Phoenix by Inga Liljestrom
From one of my all-time favourite albums – Elk, which I have reviewed here previously – Phoenix is an absolute stunner. Whoever Inga’s muse was for this album must have had a pretty special kind of magic.
“I trace the places
you have been in me
come my love
only you can thaw this ice in me
Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd
No such list could possibly exist without this song. The lyrics are beautifully simple, a little bit sad, and maybe even a bit of salt to the wound for anyone who’s ever been told “it’s not you, it’s me.”
“If I leave here tomorrow
will you still remember me?”
Early Bird by The Frames
I’m a really big fan of this song at the moment – it’s exactly the kind of song music was created for. That’s it!
Will not rush it, will enjoy it
Will not touch it, will rejoice it
Sing, Little Birdie by Shearwater
One of my favourite songs – it’s such a beautifully sweet and simple little bird-song. (Bonus double points for the band name, too, being a bird and all). I play this song often, and think very fondly about… things.
Hey, little birdie, catching my eye
Sing little sweet things into this mind
And tug at my darker side
Fly to the bed where we are confined
Combing the cancers out of our lives
And harness your song with mine
And whose tongue gave you life but mine
Which is actually the entire song…