Andrew Bird has released a new song, “Christmas in April,” which he wrote back at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic as he imagined what the holiday season might look like during quarantine. The track will appear on Bird’s new holiday album, Hark!, out Friday, October 30th via Loma Vista.
“Christmas in April” is a bittersweet acoustic tune, and while it boasts a charming self-referential quality, it doesn’t lay on the particulars of the pandemic too thick, allowing the song to sit more in the rich tradition of lonely holiday tunes. “And I’m hoping these words don’t ring so hollow/When you hear me say/Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,” Bird sings.
To accompany the studio version of the track, Bird also released a live video of him performing “Christmas in April” alongside guitarist Alan Hampton.
Bird says “Christmas in April” came about as he found himself looking ahead to the holidays, wondering if he’d be able to see his parents, and knowing there were millions of others contemplating the same thing — even at the start of spring.
“Those kinds of universally shared moments are rare in this fractured world,” he tells Rolling Stone. “There’s that verse where I just speak instead of singing about how messed up it is that I’m even writing it. That was pretty much recorded as I was writing it. Being at home allows you to capture some of those things in real-time.”
Bird says he hopes that the song will become “just some artifact and not a perennial topic,” but says that turning to things like music might be the best way to get through what will surely be a difficult holiday season.
“That’s what holiday music is, honestly. It’s a utilitarian thing. The smell of something cooking, some nice lighting, and what’s on the stereo. My go-to’s for the last few years have been Vince Guaraldi, Bing Crosby, and Handel’s Messiah. With Hark! I just wanted to serve up some fresh entries to that batch. I also got to collaborate with my mom on the artwork, including ornaments, which gave us both a lot of gratification and I suppose is some consolation for not getting to spend Christmas together this year.”
Hark! is a follow-up to Bird’s 2019 EP of the same name, and it will feature a handful of originals alongside takes on holiday classics and covers of songs that aren’t necessarily about the holiday season, but have a “passing reference to wintertime sentiment,” as the musician previously explained. The vinyl version of Hark! will arrive on November 20th.