The term yellow bird has negative connotation, meaning bad luck, or misfortune, as used in Bright Eyes lyrics.
The song, "Poison Oak" is about their ex-keyboard player Ian Mcelroy's Brother Collin, who committed suicide after battling meth addiction and sexuality issues.
"And I'm glad you got away but I'm still stuck out here
My clothes are soaking wet from your brother's tears
And I never thought this life was possible
You're the yellow bird that I've been waiting for
The end of paralysis, I was a statuette
Now I'm drunk as hell on a piano bench
And when I press the keys it all gets reversed
The sound of loneliness makes me happier."
Conor Oberst often exresses his pessimistic view of life in his lyrics. To say that he'd been waiting for a yellow bird implies he'd been awaiting catastrophe.
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