As soon as someone mentions “Birdy” in conversation preconceptions and over-playing allow you to envisage only one mere studio cover of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love”; this may have been Birdy’s debut single, but only by accident – a 14 year old Birdy released the single with hopes of much larger things. Merely 17, Birdy has been writing her own songs in the public light since the tender age of 12; the debut album, “Birdy”, being only a simple introduction to the gritty yet entrancing tones of Jasmine Van Den Bogaerde or more simply “Birdy”.
This insight into Birdy, however, did not showcase Birdy as the singer-songwriter she is, as disappointingly, although her eponymous album is riddled with her own haunting takes on classics such as The xx’s “shelter” and Cherry Ghost’s “People help the People” it only included one original track – that quite frankly was not enough to hold its own.
Her new release, albeit long-awaited, really is the “Fire Within” the artist’s musical career, including 15 original tracks, all of which are chilling, yet brilliant. Her official comment on this perhaps reveals her humble attitude perfectly, “I’ve been writing songs for so long that just to actually hear them on an album feels strange– but wonderful, too.” In all of these songs, the 17 year olds lyrics really got “deep under my skin”, so much so in fact that I wonder how someone of only 17 years of age can understand such powerful emotions. Tracks such as “Heart of Gold” and “Words as Weapons” relate to persevering situations in love and really – what is in fact, very gritty subject material that most 17 year olds would perhaps, not touch on for many years.
That is not however, to say that the album is entirely dark – at points “We start running running…” and clicking our fingers along with Birdy, who drops her acoustic guitar and naked lyrics for a more up-tempo track “Light Me Up”. The single “Wings” also reflects this vibe, the piano and drum instrumentals essential to keeping you snapping your fingers and nodding along with Birdy.
Whether or not this release will give Birdy the “Wings” she needs in order to get her music onto a larger platform is however, yet to be decided. With the album released only last week, sales figures have yet to show a clear direction. However, I will say, that having listened to the album, I hope it soars.
Words By Lu Wright