Andrew Bird has shared his upbeat new single ‘Atomized’ – you can listen to it below.
The track was inspired by late journalist and author Joan Didion, who died last December.
Didion wrote several novels and screenplays over the course of her career; she is best known for her non-fiction work, including the 1968 essay collection Slouching Towards Bethlehem which took its title from the poem The Second Coming by W. B. Yeats. Didion’s observations dealt with societal fragmentation at a time of the counterculture height.
“It was the first time I had dealt directly and flatly with the evidence of atomization, the proof that things fall apart,” Bird said in a statement via Pitchfork.
“Didion was updating W.B. Yeats for the fractious ’60s. This song takes it to the pixelated present where it’s not just society that is getting atomized but the self that is being broken apart and scattered.”
In 1979, Didion published The White Album – another collection of essays – which included the titular piece detailing Didion’s life in LA and experiences including attending a recording session by The Doors and meetings of the Black Panther Party, and her interactions with Charles Manson follower Linda Kasabian.
She released her latest book South And West: From A Notebook in 2017, as well as a collection of essays called Let Me Tell You What I Mean earlier this year.
Didion received many awards and honours in her time, including the National Medal of Arts from then-President Barack Obama in 2013. Obama called her “one of our sharpest and most respected observers of American politics and culture”.
Meanwhile, Bird is due to play a gig at London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on July 19. You can purchase tickets here.