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At 12, Birdy won a talent contest, and 3 years later at 15 produced her first album! She has a sweet, melodic voice adaptable to many songs. I wasn't such a fan of her cover work, yet I am sure there will be great things from her in the future as she has a lovely, clear, tuneful voice and is passionate about her singing.
--What you get--
A 10 track album combining covers with originals from James Taylor, The National, the xx, Fleet Foxes & more.
--Value for money--
I borrowed this from the library for 60p so great value for money! I think it is on sale at major retailers for approximately £8.99.
--Where to buy--
Get this from HMV (it was in the charts list, but not sure it still is), Play.com, amazon.co.uk, or any supermarket CD section. Widely available.
--My personal opinion--
There is only one song which I really enjoy on this album and that is the cover of James Taylor's "Fire and Rain". This song is very resonant and strikes a chord. It differs from the original in the female vocals of course, and in increased use of the piano and no guitar.
Many of her covers are poor or average covers, not beating the original, but she does have a very beautiful voice so I am sure we will see great things from her in the future! She also gave herself a bit of a challenge to try and better originals by the likes of the xx, the National & Bon Iver. "Skinny Love" is also quite a nice cover, though I prefer the original.
The one song she wrote is called "Without A Word" and I can't say I am a huge fan of this track, it's a little teenage angsty for someone just 15. "White Winter Hymnal" originally by the Fleet Foxes is massively overproduced and Fleet Foxes do it better I think. 1901 didn't leap out of the headphones at me, I can barely remember how it goes, so nothing special. "Terrible Love" is done so much better by the National, but they are quite a unique sound to replicate.
I couldn't stop listening to the "Fire and Rain" cover for a good while though, so it's a three out of five for the album.
Summary: Download "Fire & Rain", give the average covers a listen but mainly give them a miss.
EDIT: Having listened to "People help the People", the Cherry Ghost cover, I have concluded that this too is a viable contender for best song on the album!
The full name of Birdy is Jasmine van den Bogaerde. Birdy is a fifteen year old girl born on 15 May 1996. When you hear her music you would not think that she is only fifteen years. At twelve she won a talent contest and three years later she came out with her first single. This single was a good success in England and some other countries of Europe. Birdy is her first album released in 2011.
Birdy - Birdy
The first album from Birdy has exactly 11 songs and the duration is about 36 minutes. You can buy the CD in standard and deluxe version.
Birdy plays the piano and the instrument is also evident on the album. The number 1901 also begins with this instrument and after about 20 seconds you hear the warm soulful voice of Birdy. It's hard to imagine that she is 15 years. It is a fairly slow song, but not a ballad. You can hear the piano, drums and occasional guitar. It is a nice laid back song.
With the song Skinny Love by Birdy she really became famous. Again the piano is also very present and the only instrument used. This makes the number very pure and especially Birdy's voice shines on the foreground. It is a beautiful ballad led by the voice of Birdy here and there and rate increases and becomes a bit loud, but generally calm. A beautiful pure but powerful song.
People help the people
People help the people has been released as a single end of 2011, and fits with the two previous songs, but is slightly more powerful. Again plays the piano key role in the voice of Birdy. Birdy's voice is powerful, emotional, and here and there screaming in the positive sense. Halfway through the song the pace and you can hear the drums. A pretty powerful song.
White Winter Hymnal
The song White Winter Hynmal begins with a cheerful piano and the song quickly feel at all that woolly. Birdy's voice sounds in a kind of chorus, so the voice sounds fuller and reinforced. I can not say that I really like it sounds here and there I find the song loud in voting. One of the lesser songs for me.
District Sleeps Alone Tonight
One of the few songs that starts with the drums, but soon the piano again deployed. These two tools work wonderfully together. The full voice of Birdy soon begins to sing the song and gives the song some soul that it needs. It is a slow song with here and there that the pace and take the voice of Birdy also increases.
That Birdy is only fifteen years is very difficult to believe because she has a beautiful voice filled with power and soul. I would rather believe that she is at least twice as old. Her soulful voice makes this album a success. I'd almost compare her with an artist like Adele. She also often makes use of instruments like the drums and the piano. It is a pleasant change of artists often use synthetic pop and beats. This album of Birdy is very laid back and therefore here and there too slow for me. Especially towards the end the numbers are a little too slow and a bit less. It is an album for the evening to have with a glass of wine to enjoy it. Great album and four stars.
List of songs
"People Help the People"
"White Winter Hymnal"
"District Sleeps Alone Tonight"
"I'll Never Forget You"
"Fire & Rain"
"Without A Word"
Jasmine van den Bogaerde, known by her stage name Birdy is an english singer, song writer and pianist. She's just fifteen years old and lives in London. She's the great niece of Dirk Bogarde, a famous actor, and she shot to fame in early 2011 after her cover version of Bon Iver's legendary single Skinny Love was aired on Radio One. It soon reached the UK Single's top twenty chart and peaked at number seventeen. It was also chosen as Radio One's 'Record of The Week" by Fearne Cotton. Since being thrown into the spotlight she has released her debut album and has produced several singles that ranked highly in worldwide music charts including the UK, Australia and Ireland.
Birdy's debut album, self-entitled Birdy was released in early November 2011 by 14th Floor Records and Atlantic Records. The album includes her most well-known single, Skinny Love, as well as several other songs, all of which are cover songs. I purchased this album as soon as it was available on iTunes and didn't look at the tracklist before purchasing, so to be honest I was a little dissapointed upon realising that all of the songs (apart from track ten) were all cover songs; I was hoping to find out a bit about what was going on in Jasmine's head and was hoping for some more personal, 'real experience' songs, as I thought 'how can someone sing about something they've likely never experienced?' However, I was pleasantly suprised - Birdy is able to put her own twist on even the most original of songs and make it her own. She puts her heart and soul into it and you can hear the passion, heart ache and pure realism in her voice; in not one of her songs does she sound strained, fake etc and I think she really puts a magical twist on each and every song. In fact, some of her covers I actually prefer to the originals.
The album art will differ depending on which version of the album you buy. The original album shows Birdy stood against a wall wearing a red jumper over a floaty cream dress, where as the cover album shows her wearing the dress without the jumper. On both albums, 'Birdy' is written in the top left corner in stylish white font. I have the original album and find that although the design is pretty basic, it's still nice - Birdy doesn't need to pose on the cover wearing hardly anything because she's so talented, and it goes to show that if you have real talent you don't need to have a eye catching or revealing album cover in order to flog albums!
Price and Availability
This album can be purchased from a variety of shops including HMV, Play, CEX, and so on. Supermarkets also stock it, as does Amazon. Prices vary. I purchased a digital copy of the album from iTunes and paid a very reasonable £4.99 for the album, which considering it was eleven high quality, full length songs I think is a bargain. Idividual tracks can be purchased for 99 pence each.
1901 is the first track on the album. Having never heard the original of this song, I was unsure what to expect. The song was originally sung by a band called Phoenix, a rock band. Having now listened to the original, I can hand on heart say that I do prefer Birdy's cover. The original has a vibe about it, with the lead singer singing fast, where as with Birdy's cover it is much more innocent, personal and gentle. Birdy's cover of the song is actually just amazing. It starts out with triangles and the piano then kicks in with the triangles adding a magical touch to it. The piano gets stronger and stronger and then Birdy begins singing. Her voice is clear, gentle and it feels like she's telling a story, although not in a negative sense; the story is truthful, with heartfelt emotion put into it.
I am usually quite good at figuring what songs are about and the meanings behind them, however with this one I am a little lost. If I had to guess though, I think it's about a realtionship breaking apart. One person is madly in love, while the other is keen to move on. The chorus is catchy, powerful and the backing singers add a lovely extra touch. The song is quite emotional despite not being particulary relateable due to the mixed messages (I honest am not 100% sure what the songs about) and it's a lovely song to stick on when I need a song to pick me up. It's quite a feel-good song, mainly because it's easy to sing along to, while still been very touching and honest. The song is five minutes and eleven seconds which I don't mind as it's so catchy, although some people may find it a little repetitive after 3 minutes or so.
Skinny love is the second song. It's a cover of Bon Iver's song, and although I do love it, I still prefer Bon Iver's version. I'm not sure why, but I just find the original more raw and true, where as Birdy's does sound like a cover - it's clear however from the opening line that she has put her own modern twist on it and her voice thorough the song is spectacular. She reaches some really high notes which are beautiful as you can feel the emotion and feeling of hopelessness in her voice, and she also changes her vocal style several times which builds the song nicely. The piano throughout is flawless and I love when it builds up and gets stronger as her voice developes. Although the song is great is has a kind of 'old' feel to it as it was overplayed so much on the radio which is why I usually skip it, but it's all in all a good song which shows of Birdy's vocal range very well. The song is 3 minutes and 21 seconds long which I think is just about right.
People help the people is the third track on the album. It is a cover of the Cherry Ghost single, which again, I hadn't heard before hearing Birdy's version. I prefer Birdy's version much more as it's so much more gentle (both in instrumentals and vocals) and her voice is much more understandable and easy to listen to. The piano is lovely throughout and Birdy's voice, especially at the beginning is magical; you can really tell how young she is in this song due to the gentle, slow vocals and it shows her talent off amazingly well. As the song progresses the instrumentals and vocals get stronger, then go softer again and then get stronger to almost explode into a chorus. The song speaks a lot of truth and although the lyrics weren't written by Birdy she gets them across in a truthful, heartfelt way. It's a song about society coming together and it's a lovely, feel-good song. I especially love when the violin kicks in and Birdy hums along; it's beautiful. The song is 4 minutes
and 16 seconds long and is so good that I wish it was longer!
White Winter Hymnals the fourth track of the album. It's a cover of the Fleet Foxes song and I prefer Birdy's version. It has an eerie, powerful echoey song throughout. It's a beautiful song which doesn't make a huge amount of sense but it's easy to sing along to and it has a lovely feel-good, relatable sound (i'm not sure how, but it's definetly like listening to my random thoughts in song version!) The instrumentals are a little different to usual, they're much stronger with the piano making an appearence every 10 seconds or so. Birdy's voice in this is amazing and it's probably my favourite song on the album - it sounds amazing blasting out! It is only 2 minutes and 17 seconds long which I think is a let down - I could easily listen to ten minutes plus of this song.
The District Sleeps Alone Tonight is the fifith track on the album. It is a cover of the postal service's song of the same name. It starts out with a rapid beat with a gentle piano playing over the top, and then Birdy starts singing in a beautifully, almost angelic style which is fast paced while still sounding fragile. Every word that comes out of her mouth during this song is magical, and she hits some really high notes with flawless effort. The song, like many of the others, is a little random yet she manages to put emotion into it and I especially love when the eerie static backing singers kick in. The song is 4 minutes and 44 seconds which is more than enough; it is a good song but I couldn't listen to much of it.
I'll Never Forget You is the sixth track on the album. I am unsure of who sings the original but I think it's The Noisettes. The song is okay, a little too slow for me though. Birdy's voice is a little grating to be honest as it's so slow and softly spoken with an almost gritty tone to it if that makes sense. It also takes a while to get going and after 30 seconds or so I skip it. It doesn't come across as a song with alot of depth in my opinion and is one of the songs I least enjoy. It is 3 minutes and 47 seconds long which is too long; it drags. The chorus is okay though.
Young Blood is the seventh track on the album. It's another of the best songs in my opinion and it's another cover - the original is by the naked and famous. The song has a powerful, young vibe to it (does young make sense? Let's say fresh instead). The lyrics are great and so relateable. Birdy's vocal style in this is lovely with a slight echoey tone to it. It's much better than the original in my opinion, as it's slower and the words are easier to make out. The song is about young love and the early stages of a relationship; that magical feeling of having someone you can hold and love. Then as the song progresses the cracks begin to appear as mistakes are made. The song is perfect in length at 4 minutes and 4 seconds.
Shelter is the eighth song on the album. The original is by The XX, who I love, but to be honest Birdy's version is better as it's more eerie and slow paced, her voice is honest and true throughout and her vocal style has that creepy but beautiful edge to it. The song is about trying to win someone over with sex and using sex as a weapon in a relationship. The song is amazing and I usually listen to it daily, it's a nice song to relax to and it has a magical kind of sound to it. The song is 3 minutes and 44 seconds long which is long enough; it shows off Birdy's singing talent without getting repetitive and boring.
Fire & Rain is the nineth song on the album and the original is by James Taylor. I love both versions, but Birdy's is that bit better. It's got a very upbeat instrumental vibe to it and it's a lovely song. It's like a story unfolding, and it's one of those classic kind of love songs. The song progresses nicely and it's fast paced. The chorus is easy to sing along to and I like how Birdy's voice gets stronger and stronger as the emotion builds up. It's 3 minutes and 7 seconds which is just right, as due to the repetitive chorus it could get a bit boring after a while.
The tenth song has been written by Birdy herself. It is entitled Without a Word and is a lovely, original song. It starts out with the piano which is upbeat and then Birdy's strong vocals kick in. It progresses quickly and is a lovely song which is interesting to listen to with a lot of emotion and love coming through clearly in the vocals. It's not my favourite song but it's not one of my less favourites either. I love the verse 'show me that you don't care and i'll stay if you prefer'. It's a lovely song and is 4 minutes and 46 seconds long which I think is a good time as it does get quite repetitive after the 4 minute mark.
The final song is Terrible Love, originally sung by The National. It's a bizzare but touching and heartfelt song. It's very gentle at the beginning and almost haunting, although towards the end it's a very powefufl song. Birdy's voice is flawless throughout as are the instrumentals - I love it, it's so relaxing and gentle. It's a lovely outro to the album and is 4 minutes and 43 seconds long.
Overall, this is a lovely, versatile album from a very talented new artist. Some songs are a little repetitive, however Birdy's wide vocal range and ability to put her own twist onto a wide range of songs makes up for this. I overall award the album 5 out of 5 stars - the album is just magical.
Since the dawn of the Internet a lot of new artists have been discovered via Talent Contests & Internet Sites and the trend for ever younger artists has come upon us, One of the most recent success stories of this kind is 15 year old Jasmine van den Bogaerde or to give her her stage name "Birdy". Born on 15th May 1996, Jasmine won the UK talent contest Open Mic UK, a spinoff of the Live and Unsigned competition. She was just 12 years old at the time, Her first single was released in 2011 A cover of "Skinny Love" by Bon Iver was that track, It reached Number 17 in the UK Charts. She is signed to Warner Music.
The debut album from Birdy was released on 4th November 2011 by by 14thFloor Records/Atlantic Records. The album is a collection of both new original tracks and covers. The album features the solely written track "Without A Word", It is the only track on the album that features a writing credit from her. The style of the album is clearly acoustic folk with emphasis on the vocal tone of Birdy and the emotive lyrics. There have been three singles released from the album, These are Skinny Love", "Shelter", "People Help the People" & "1901" is due to be released at the end of February 2012. So what's the verdict on the album?. Read on.
This is an excellent opener to the album and shows off the vocal purity of Birdy. the gentle drum beat works well with the flowing vocals and gentle piano. Birdy has a confident vocal delivery and this is a well polished song which is due for release as the fourth single in February. The original was by the French alternative rock band Phoenix. I prefer this version to the original as it's more mellow and I feel it also works better and has more appeal.
2.) Skinny Love
This is a cover of the American band Bon Iver's track, It's a beautifully haunting version with simple yet achingly effective piano and Birdy's emotive sweet vocal. As mentioned before, this is Birdy's first single and reached Number 17 on the charts. It's up there with the best on the album and showcases her talent for emoting a song. the fine voice shines through and the emotion is a key part of it's appeal. Good stuff.
3.) People Help The People
Another mellow moment here, the vocals are again soft and emotive. The piano again is gentle and emotive. This is another contender for best track on the album and reminds me a little of Adele. It works really well. The song is a cover of the original by the band Cherry Ghost. I really like this as a cover even know I'm not really that aware of the original.
4.) White Winter Hymnal
This track has a rolling drum beat and some gentle piano, The vocals are again mellow and blend well with the slightly different sound to the rest of the album. "White Winter Hymnal" was the first single from Fleet Foxes's debut 2008 self-titled album so it's another cover here. I prefer this version to the original as I'm not really a fan of Fleet Foxes or that kind of music. The track was written by Robin Pecknold.
5.) District Sleeps Alone Tonight
This is another cover here, it's original was by "The Postal Service". I am not aware of the original but this is an okay cover version. The vocals are decent and the piano is nice but it's lacking a little spark and beauty to get it to the level of some of the best tracks on the album. Not a bad track but not good enough to get a higher mark. There are some moments of vocal limitations which is expected given that she is only 15 years old.
6.) I'll Never Forget You
This track was originally recorded by Francis and the Lights, It was from their first independent release. I like the vocals and piano here, It's a really mellow track which builds well and the background sounds of a small orchestra add a nice touch. Certainly much better than the original was and that is a common feature on this album it seems.
7.) Young Blood
The Naked and Famous originally recorded this track, It was written by Thomas Powers, Alisa Xayalith & Aaron Short. It's probably the most well known of any of the original versions here. It's a nice electro pop track which has a catchy beat and confident delivery from Birdy. It works pretty well and showcases another side to her which is always good to hear in a new artist.
This track was originally recorded by indie pop band The xx, I must say that Birdy improves on the original, The vocals are emotive and really come across well, this is a very tender moment and a contrast from the original which isn't half as good as this is. This is undoubtedly one of the best moments on the album and one of the biggest examples of talent and interpretation on the album.
9.) Fire & Rain
This is a cover of a James Taylor track which was featured on his second album Sweet Baby James, The song is held in high esteem and the original was placed 227th position on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. This is the most well known cover on the album and one of the best. Her voice is strong and suitably emotive. A very decent track.
10.) Without A Word
Here we have the only original song on the album, It's a heartfelt ballad about a relationship breaking up all of a sudden. She shows good maturity at a young age and the emotive vocals are to be believed. This is an impressive track which hints at her ability to write a great track as well as cover one or make one from an average original track. This track is really promising.
11.) Terrible Love
This is a cover version of a track by "The National". This is another well known track which gets the Birdy treatment here. She does a decent job with the vocals and the piano is suitably mellow and emotive and the string background adds a nice touch and as it develops thanks to a drum beat that comes in it's a decent track if a little lacking in ultimate progression. It's a good closer though.
This is a promising debut, she certainly has the voice and from the evidence of the sole Birdy penned track here she has a decent songwriting ability too. Whether she will last depends on the strength of her progression because as good as the covers are she will need to progress to doing her own material or at least recording fresh songs and not always covers. Nothing wrong with covers when they are done right but this is her first album. she needs progression to do her own stuff. A decent first effort, hopefully there's more to come.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Skinny Love
3 People Help The People
4 White Winter Hymnal
5 District Sleeps Alone Tonight
6 I'll Never Forget You
7 Young Blood
9 Fire & Rain
10 Without A Word
11 Terrible Love