Break It Yourself - Andrew Bird
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. If you like smart pop and are not familiar, hearing Bird for the first time will feel like discovering a new planet.
  2. Mar 1, 2012
    100
    It's the perfect album: tender without being sentimental, experimental yet accessible, utterly unique to its maker.
  3. Mar 13, 2012
    91
    It's extraordinarily intimate at times, especially given the overarching theme of heartbreak and broken connections that suffuses the album.
  4. May 14, 2012
    90
    Put simply, it's lovely.
  5. Apr 23, 2012
    90
    The 14 tracks here rank among some of the best Bird's ever done.
  6. Mar 6, 2012
    90
    For as much as this collection of songs feels like a band getting together to jam for fun, Break It also feels like one of the more cohesive albums in Bird's oeuvre.
  7. Mar 6, 2012
    90
    Though it's a lengthy record, at just over an hour, it's a rewarding one.
  8. Mar 5, 2012
    86
    Andrew Bird is a highly skilled musician capable of crafting an album full of delightful little moments that make the album worth a fair listen, and more.
  9. Apr 6, 2012
    80
    Packed to the brim with moments of tonal and melodic transcendence. [#86, p.51]
  10. Mar 22, 2012
    80
    It's a seductive lesson in understated beauty. [Apr 2012, p.86]
  11. 80
    It's this sort of wide-eyed optimism [heard on "Near Death Experience Experience"] that lends Break It Yourself immediate appeal.
  12. 80
    It's mood music with a melody, orchestral pop without the pomp, midwest Americana with Euro-classical training. And despite the title, it's far from broken.
  13. Mar 7, 2012
    80
    On first spin, Break It Yourself may sound like a typical outing, but repeated listens unveil an assembly of songs that are as verdant and mercurial as they are rooted in the Bird tradition.
  14. Mar 6, 2012
    80
    On his 12th official album, the 38-year-old's impressive work habits have both loosened and deepened his craft.
  15. 80
    Bird conducts his experiments with the lightest of touches: his ingenuity matched by a gift for simple, lilting melodies.
  16. Mar 2, 2012
    80
    A cornucopia of ideas and influences, here, Andrew Bird has created a veritable treasure trove of a record, where to equal the bare sum of its parts is a momentous achievement.
  17. 80
    When it all comes together, with the sinuous, haunting grace of "Near Death Experience Experience" or the jaunty élan of "Danse Carribe", the results more than justify the sometimes obtuse methods.
  18. Feb 28, 2012
    80
    By playing it straight and singing it even straighter, he's created an intensely listenable and emotional album that's impossible not to relate to.
  19. Feb 28, 2012
    80
    A little patience pays dividends which, for the first time with an Andrew Bird release, are as emotional as they are cerebral.
  20. The end result then, is the sound of Bird settling down, becoming comfortable with his music and letting it come off as natural, without losing the sense of enjoyment and the hypnotic dynamism of his core elements.
  21. Mar 6, 2012
    75
    It all amounts to a constructed world that sounds outré at first but winds up being a startlingly astute reflection of our own as you settle into it.
  22. Feb 28, 2012
    75
    It's exactly the kind of album one imagines Bird could whip up on a lazy Sunday afternoon after a cat-nap.
  23. Mar 20, 2012
    70
    Break it Yourself dodges the feedback of erring too closely to its own sources--but not all of it soars.
  24. Mar 14, 2012
    70
    Break It Yourself by contrast [to Noble Beast] feels like an attempt to communicate more directly and is his most affecting album yet. [Apr 2012, p.82]
  25. 70
    It has flashes of musical and lyrical depth that few can match. The hooks don't quite sink in as far as some of those on past records, and the diversity doesn't quite match either, but the depth of the intelligent, philosophic experience grows after each listen.
  26. Mar 6, 2012
    70
    Whether contemplatively highbrow (the symphonic meditation "Hole in the Ocean Floor") or forlornly down-to-earth (the alt-country of "Fatal Shore"), his angst studies feel cathartic without seeming mean-spirited.
  27. Mar 5, 2012
    70
    Unlike previous efforts, which have seen Bird obscure meaning with questionable use of Scrabble-worthy vocabulary, Break It Yourself finds the Chicago-based artist writing some of his most straightforward lyrics.
  28. Mar 2, 2012
    70
    Whereas on another album these kinds of sidepaths would be no more than frustrating distractions, here the scenery looks so good, you'll gladly take the long way home.
  29. Mar 14, 2012
    60
    Having been criticized for lacking emotional resonance with his lyrics, Bird addresses the problem [here]. Worth the wait. [April 2012, p.90]
  30. Mar 6, 2012
    50
    The best parts of this record recall Bird at his finest, tweaking his sound just enough to freshen it up, but unfortunately they're surrounded by too many songs that end up as pleasant background music.
  31. Mar 5, 2012
    50
    He's not playing to his strengths; he's succumbing to preciousness.
User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 25 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Mar 6, 2012
    10
    A great album by Andrew Bird. Nothing short of what we'd expect from him. Beautiful Lyrics, beautiful melodies and a haunting mood throughoutA great album by Andrew Bird. Nothing short of what we'd expect from him. Beautiful Lyrics, beautiful melodies and a haunting mood throughout the album that makes it just that much better Full Review »
  2. Jun 29, 2014
    9
    There's quite honestly nothing more desirable than a very well constructed pop record. In this case, for Andrew Bird it's a very wellThere's quite honestly nothing more desirable than a very well constructed pop record. In this case, for Andrew Bird it's a very well constructed baroque/chamber pop record with "Break It Yourself". This certainly isn't an easy listen at first, maybe not likely you'll enjoy it fully the second or third time, but the moment "Break It Yourself" slivers it's way onto repeat is the day you'll fall in love with music all over again. For fans of smart, beautifully orchestrated chamber pop need not listen to Belle & Sebastian anymore. You can finally rely on another artist to fix your itch. Andrew Birds's lyrics quickly become a commodity to your everyday life. The instrumentals are always nice on the ears. Not to mention, Andrew Bird is a fantastic vocalists.

    All In All, To anyone just discovering Andrew Bird, prepare for life to be truly enlightened. A-
    Full Review »
  3. May 3, 2012
    10
    B4 this album Andrew Bird showed everyone how awesome he is with the violin.... Now he just showed us why hes the best musician out thereB4 this album Andrew Bird showed everyone how awesome he is with the violin.... Now he just showed us why hes the best musician out there today! you gotta love 'em and if you have not heard this album yet.... what u waiting 4? you must ASAP! hes a musical god!!!!!!!!! between you and me i teared up a bit Full Review »