Following her 2011 release that comprised mainly of covers including her famous cover of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love,” eighteen-year old (although seventeen when the record was released in the UK) singer/song-writer, Jasmine van den Bogaerde, also known as Birdy released her second record, Fire Within, which is comprised of her original music this time. Similar to artists like Lorde and Lana del Rey, Birdy’s style is very refreshing to the pop music scene, as her material’s genre incorporates a lot of blues/retro and jazz elements.
Lyrically striking, Fire Within takes a lot of inspiration from literal and figurative images of fire and flight. Co-written with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, “Wings” is a strong introduction as its steady pace and talks of nostalgia evoke a lot of meaningful memories and old feelings.
“All You Never Say” and “Strange Birds” are standout tracks as both tracks allow for emphasis on her strongest suit: her voice. A lot of her talent comes out when she is allowed more room to be heard in a more raw setting. One would not expect these tracks to be coming from a singer at such a young age. “Maybe” breaks the slow dynamic in the middle as this track is a little more cheerful and less somber than the rest. “No Angel” and “All About You” lets us back into the solemn and earnest vibe.
“Standing In the Way of the Light” prepares the audience for the record’s conclusion as it builds and breaks down nicely, making way for the last track entitled “Shine.” This concluding track is the most stripped down and least accompanied track, containing only pretty vocals, harmonies, and a backing piano. The lyric, “You have woken to hopeful eyes looking out as you wait alone, hiding tears of doubt” tugs heartstrings, as does the chorus: “Shine. If your heart tells you to then who are you to question it?”
The amount of sincere emotion Birdy put into all the songs’ words comes to life naturally by way of her mesmerizing vocals. With all the technology at one’s disposal nowadays, writing a pop record should be pretty simple. Writing a pop record with substance and depth, however, takes effort and talent. Luckily for this English youngin’, she’s already got a lot of both.
(By Dana Reandelar)