Armchair Apocrypha - Andrew Bird
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Bird has developed a finesse for off-kilter pop that takes mortality, confusion, and unexpected realizations as its subject, shaping them all into songs that are catchier, by their own terms, than most of Top 40 radio.
  2. This is an intellectual jaunt that reveals the beauty of pop music, both musically and lyrically.
  3. This is a record that will so quickly get under your skin and fill your head with such a bounty of melodies that the only way to relieve the swelling is to joyously whistle them out.
  4. The arrangements are lovely, as always, but it’s Bird’s openness (as opposed to his inscrutability) that pays the greatest dividends on this exquisite, resonant work.
  5. By taking the piss out of himself and the cynicism out of his outlook, Bird’s songs are not only smart and sensible but joyous and full of hope.
  6. The songs on Armchair Apocrypha are broader, more sweeping in content and delivery than their immediate predecessors.
  7. Armchair Apocrypha is a wonderful record.
  8. Occasionally he overreaches... but when Bird keeps things simple, Apocrypha is full of modest charms. [23 Mar 2007, p.59]
  9. The experimental, lo-fi branding of his oeuvre is gone, but the originality of his sound continues to trump the nostalgic demons in his head.
  10. Andrew Bird has thrown down his gauntlet brimming with post-structural imagery, swirling entropy, a truly floral arrangement of genre pieces and genre mixing.
  11. His songwriting style remains largely unaltered: eloquent, abstract, stream-of-consciousness rambles, tiny bits of which manage to lodge themselves in your brain. But his talent is most apparent as a composer.
  12. 80
    Overall, the album might not surpass his masterpiece The Mysterious Production Of Eggs, but Armchair Apocrypha proves Bird's knack for the musical hat-trick. [May 2007, p.102]
  13. 80
    A record dotted with peaks. [Apr 2007, p.93]
  14. It could be horribly contrived, yet Bird has the rare touch to make it sound as natural as breathing. [May 2007, p.125]
  15. 80
    This stream-of-consciousness head trip blends tricky, delicious melodies and slippery lyrics, yet never lapses into annoyingly smug artiness. [Mar 2007, p.88]
  16. On Apocrypha... Bird may be simultaneously at his most clever and most luminous. [Apr 2007, p.55]
  17. 80
    Apocrypha feels of a piece with Eggs, though without as many layers or as heightened a sense of playfulness. [#75, p.91]
  18. As a whole, the album doesn't stand up quite as well as The Mysterious Production Of Eggs, but it's still another solid entry in Bird's discography.
  19. Armchair Apocrypha is ultimately another object of strange and unique beauty from this inventive songwriter and performer.
  20. This album proves that Bird is up there with the kings of US alt.country pop like Lambchop and My Morning Jacket.
  21. What the songs might lose in pluck and idiosyncrasy, they gain in depth and craft, still letting Bird show off his rakish voice and trademark violin ripping. [#17, p.90]
  22. Seemingly simple elements -- plucked violin, shuffling snare drums, chiming guitars, plinky piano, his spooky croon and magisterial whistle -- build into one heady, slippery whole.
  23. Although Bird certainly isn’t breaking new ground in terms of his overall sound since his last album, he has still put out another solid record chock-full of witty lyricisms and lilting melodies that do a wonderful job of showing off his oh-so-smooth voice.
  24. The opaqueness of Bird's lyrics doesn't exactly jibe with this more mainstream musical approach.
  25. Armchair is a bit more accessible and less subtle [than Eggs], less of a single statement, but with more individual standouts.
  26. Making no palpable effort to crack the conventional with overflowing melodies and love songs, Bird instead latches up the intellect to create tiny packages of literature that make always leave you thinking--and snapping your fingers at the same time.
  27. The strength of this album lies in Bird's ability to write challenging, evocative lyrics, and then wed his erudite prose with joyous melodies.
  28. Armchair Apocrypha, is as instantly engaging as "Fake Palindromes" from 05's Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs.
  29. 60
    The music's intellectualism obscures as many truths as it unveils. [Mar 2007, p.130]
  30. Bird’s intelligence – and obvious delight in the associations that words seem to make on their own – often places his lyrics in the precocious high-school poet camp.
User Score
9.2

Universal acclaim- based on 66 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 39 out of 39
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 39
  3. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. Oct 17, 2011
    8
    At times haunting, often delicate, always clever. A fantastic blend of sounds and styles. This record has some unique and beautiful songs onAt times haunting, often delicate, always clever. A fantastic blend of sounds and styles. This record has some unique and beautiful songs on it. A mix of solid pop melodies and very interesting lyrical themes the whole way through. It took me a few listens to get into it but I was well rewarded in the end. A very good record from a multi-talented musician and songwriter. Full Review »
  2. LarsP.
    Sep 24, 2007
    10
    Just take 12 really catchy pop songs - ones that you can't but help but like, despite how cool you are - and then layer it a gazillion Just take 12 really catchy pop songs - ones that you can't but help but like, despite how cool you are - and then layer it a gazillion times with unheard of instrument combinations (love that whistle), poetry, and an extremely talented musician...voila: Andrew Bird's Armchair Apocrypha. It gets better with every listen; the layers of complexity never stop unraveling. Bird manages to pull it off without coming off as an arrogant uptight indie snob. Full Review »
  3. DanB.
    Sep 5, 2007
    8
    It doesn't have standouts like the last album, but at the same time, there are no weak moments. It's an album you can really listen It doesn't have standouts like the last album, but at the same time, there are no weak moments. It's an album you can really listen to from start to finish without wanting to skip a moment. So. It's not the most amazing album--it's not forceful, doesn't make itself absolutely necessary--but it's still really good. In the end, short of an album's worth of crack-good single-worthy tunes that somehow also congeal into a solid album (see: anything by the Beatles?), what more can you ask for? Full Review »