“Anonanimal” by Andrew Bird.

I want to crawl inside this song and live there.

I spent the majority of February and March in Albuquerque, NM for work. I got to stay in a swank hotel, was showered with per diems, and had several weekends just to explore The Land of Enchantment. I hadn’t brought any music with me and the radio stations out there are as follows: Country, Top 40, Spanish music. Not even a good solid talk radio station. I was driving around in my little white Jetta rental quite a bit, all over Albuquerque, to Santa Fe, to Pojoaque, to Taos. Out of frustration, I stopped in a little independent record shop on Route 66, by the University of New Mexico, and bought a copy of Andrew Bird’s “Noble Beast.”

I had been listening to it (and loving it) before going to New Mexico, and had even gone to Philidelphia to see him perform, but it wasn’t until I listened to “Noble Beast” on a loop out there in New Mexico that the album really sunk in. Somehow, listening to “Noble Beast” among the neverending mountains and desert and crystal clear blue skies, the album made more sense than it did in my hometown of Baltimore. Baltimore is all grit and irony and poverty and perversity. But New Mexico, well, it’s as close to paradise as I’ve ever seen. And being surrounded by the omnipresent mountains, and the neverending blue sky, the album clicked for me. And I listened to it on a loop while I was out there, as it was the only album I had. With each listen, “Noble Beast” sunk its claws in deeper.

And now it’s my New Mexico Album.

All the songs remind me of my time there, driving around and exploring, looking out of my car window and seeing mountains on all sides of me, like some large, silent traveling partner.

This song in particular, “Anonanimal,” with its repeated lines of “hold on just a second, I know this one, I know this song,” resonated deeply for me when I was by myself in a place so different from my home, thousands of miles away from anyone I know. And when the violin gets drowned out by the guitar after those lyrics, oh my, it’s so beautiful and warm that the song itself feels like home. And, driving around, that song was immensely comforting to me. It still is. And it reminds me of the time I spent out there, exploring, excited, and homesick.

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~ by Linda Gerhardt on June 22, 2009.

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