IFC announced yesterday that they have signed everyone's favorite hipster-skewering show, Portlandia, for a second season. But if there's one thing we learned this time around, it's that everything looks better with a bird on it. Musically, there's something about birds that just suggests acoustic guitar, overwrought metaphors, and lots of longing. Birds. They always seem to be flying away.
1. The Shins, "New Slang": The Shins tackle your basic mopey tale of rejection and subsequent dejection.
Sample lyric: "If you'd took to me like a gull takes to the wind."
2. The Magnetic Fields, "All My Little Words": Why does the one we love never love us back? Props to Stephin Merritt for coining the phrase "unboyfriendable."
Sample lyric: "I could never make you stay/Not for all the tea in China, not if I could sing like a bird."
3. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, "The Gold Finch and the Red Oak Tree": A meditation on learning and Christianity? Maybe. There is a part about carrying a cross.
Sample lyric: "Golden finch, your song is your love, and you will sing forever above."
4. Sufjan Stevens, "Casimir Pulaski Day": This song about a friend dying of cancer is really too sad to make fun of. At the moment of her death, a cardinal hits the window of the hospital room.
5. The Decemberists, "The Crane Wife 3": Colin Meloy tells the classic Japanese tale of the woman who transformed into a crane each night, weaving her feathers into fabulous silk to support her family, before flying away for good.
Sample lyric: "Each feather, it fell from skin, 'til threadbare, she grew thin."
6. Gram Parsons, "A Song for You": In some cases, the wanderer is the protagonist, not the one who got away.
Sample lyric: "Oh, my land is like a wild goose, wanders all around everywhere."
7. Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians, "Birds in Perspex": OK, so this one's not really acoustic (the video is, though!), nor is it probably even about birds, given Hitchcock's oblique lyrical style. But it's just too good to skip.
Sample lyric: "Birds in Perspex come alive!"
8. Arthur & Yu, "There Are Too Many Birds": 'Nuff said.