A Man Alive is over three years old now, but I keep returning to it because, first of all, Thao Ngyuen bought me a drink at the Taft Theatre back in 2014, so she is obviously the best, but more importantly, the songs on this record continue to reveal new, sparkly little gems with every listen. “Meticulous Bird” begins with a funky danceable beat and Ngyuen’s clever rhymes, and could totally be a pop song, except that it soon veers into the kind of complexity that in less-skilled hands would render it dissonant. In Nguyen’s hands, however, we get a song that is pop and jazz, hip-hop and electronica at once, and super listenable. And here’s my favorite part: appropriately given the lyrics, her voice is distinctly birdlike in this song, by turns a croon, a trill, even a screech. “Oh my god, you didn’t know I’d get ferocious,” Ngyuen warbles. “I find the scene of the crime, I take my body back. Now I perch above you, meticulous bird of prey.”
Check out the cool video, too!