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"I'll be anything you ask & more.."
Birdy - Birdy
Author Name: daisylee3
Birdy - Birdy
Advantages: A lovely album
Disadvantages: All cover songs
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.