By Virginia Kluiters
Remember a few years back when Birdy’s cover version of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” went viral? This propelled her then début album Birdy to soar the top of the charts, making her a mini-superstar at only 14 years old. Now this UK-born songbird has done it again with her second studio album, Fire Within.
At age 17, (so still not even legal), Birdy sounds more like Adele than Taylor Swift— her voice is mature, but flecked with a fragility that suits her lyrics. Fire Within opens with “Wings,” which is perhaps one of the best songs on the album. When Birdy sings, each note drifts, fading away before swelling up once more. Her vocals create a sense of resilience that is reflected in her lyrics but is balanced by an upbeat musical background that prevents her sound from being melodramatic.
Though overall, Birdy has produced a solid indie-pop-rock album, there are defiantly songs that start to drag on one’s ear. “All You Never Say,” and “Heart of Gold” are more whiny than profound. Birdy’s immaturity is revealed through her lyrics in “Heart of Gold” when she writes, “But you don’t have to be so mean/You’re such a drama queen/The way you play on every weakness that you see in me.” Her word choice exemplifies her age, creating a relatable sound for a younger demographic but one that alienates older audiences.
One of the best qualities of Fire Within is Birdy’s ability to unabashedly write from the heart, showcasing her personality and vulnerability; a feat many artists aren’t comfortable with. Her songs are unique and authentic, rivaling other indie pop artists. “Words as a Weapon” has a Mumford and Sons feel, which isn’t surprising since Ben Lovett signed on with Birdy as a co-writer. “Light Me Up” has a Florence and the Machine vibe to it, which works successfully with Birdy’s unblemished vocals. Others of Birdy’s most successful songs include “Strange Birds,” “Shine,” and “Help The People.” “Strange Birds” is particularly enchanting because of its lyrics: “I walk the hall invisibly,/I climb the walls, no one sees me,/no one but you.” The lyrics evoke a sense of mysticism, and one cannot help but drift away into a fantasyland while listening to it.
You can listen to the full album online, but as always we encourage you to pay for the music you stream.
Edited by Valerie Reich
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