Houdini

Album: yet to be titled (2020)

Songfacts®:

  • Harry Houdini was a famous early 20th-century illusionist and magician who was noted for his escape acts. Here, Jade Bird uses the performer's name as a metaphor for former love interests who walked out on her without a reason. "I had no control or choice on their appearances and disappearances," she explained. "Sort of like the man himself."
  • Bird wrote the song in the mountains in upstate New York. Having penned her first album in the same area, she rented a home in early 2020 to do some songwriting for her sophomore record. The singer-songwriter explained to The Boot that coming across the word "Houdini" in a song she became obsessed with the word but couldn't come up with a concept to go with it. In her New York house she noticed "this weird, framed picture with a sort of strange, upside-down man that I realized was Houdini."

    All of a sudden, the famous escape artist seemed to be the perfect metaphor for all the figures, especially males, who had left her life in the past without warning.
  • The song came easily, although Jade Bird wrote the middle eight with her guitarist/boyfriend Luke Prosser later on. "He played the chords, and the words just completely flowed," she said. "A lot of this song was catharsis, just closing the door on a complicated past in a way."
  • After completing her New York writing stint, Bird left for Nashville, where she laid down the song with producer Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton).
  • Harry Houdini's most famous escape act was the Chinese Water Torture Cell, in which he was left upside-down in a locked glass-and-steel cabinet overflowing with water. Several other artists have recorded songs by the famed illusionist, including Kate Bush, Foster the People, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and KSI.

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