Monday, 13 August 2012

Album Review - Birdy

So I have another album to review. I bought this a couple of months ago, along with a few other albums I wanted for a while. This album came back into mind after I heard Jim and Tanya on YouTube rave about it on their monthly favourites video. I remember the first time I heard this album, I was a little disappointed about it. But I've decided to give it another chance, considering the artist is 15 years of age and has an amazing voice. This is in the easy listening genre, with a pop sort of edge to it.

1. 1901 - I first thought it took a while for this first song, originally by Phoenix, to get going. The piano sounds great in this track as it has this mysterious echoic feel to it. Then she starts singing, and it's amazing to think she's only 15. The maturity in her voice is beautiful.  I haven't heard of this song before this cover, but it does sound great, very relaxing yet optimistic.
2. Skinny Love - This was the first single from the album, based on the Bon Iver version, and this was the song that made me fall in love her voice. Just piano and voice in this song, not many tracks are like that nowadays, and it's just simply stunning, emotional at its very best.  The high notes she sings send shivers down your spine, pure beauty. Definitely a favourite of mine.
3. People Help The People - Originally a song by Cherry Ghost. An eerie and almost sad piano intro to the song. The cello is great in this track too, making it sound more dramatic. It's a bit slow at first but then the drum kit comes in and brings in a bit more pace, but just a tiny bit to keep it steady. Her voice is absolutely brilliant, very natural in this song, she doesn't try too hard to bring out massive notes which is great to see.
4. White Winter Hymnal -  A Fleet Foxes song, the drumbeat seems to annoy me a little bit in this track. And to be honest, the repetition of the lyrics does irritate me a little, but the harmonies are stunning. It would be great if they lost the annoying drum beat and just left it with the piano and the harmonies of this beautiful young lady's voice. Another thing, this song is very short, just over two minutes, just thinking there could've been a lot more to add to it.
5. District Sleeps Alone Tonight - Once again, drum beat is a little annoying. Think they've gone a bit too techno like which doesn't really mix in with the beautiful reverb like sound coming from the piano and Birdy's voice. This version of Postal Service's song is pretty good, optimistic once again, her voice is still strong, but the drum beats are seriously going downhill.
6. I'll Never Forget You - Quite an interesting intro to this version of a Francis and the Lights song, not too sure what key it's meant to be in. Dunno what they effect they did to Birdy's voice, but it doesn't sound as genuine this time which is a shame. The octave in the piano is quite nice to listen too. Then there's a sort of build up to the chorus with the violin, and it's one of those sun rising moments. I want to love this song, but I wish they didn't put an effect on her voice, and it was real as it was on the previous tracks as I would absolutely love the song, but it's the little things that stop me.
7. Young Blood - Another annoying electronic drum beat in this Naked and Famous cover. Maybe it's just me who loves a natural, realistic sound but oh well. Once again, it's not amazing, almost as if I'm listening to the same stuff again. Her voice is still great but there's something missing. Not sure what but it's bothering me.
8. Shelter - The xx is the only artist I recognise that she's covered, but I still don't know their stuff too well. No doubt that she's a great piano player, a more mysterious sound to this track. This song is winning me back, her voice is sublime in this and the harmonies, oh my god! Quite an emotional song this is, and the loss of the drum beat isn't missed at all. Absolutely adore this, beautiful!
9. Fire & Rain - A cover of a James Taylor song. We're back to the cheery side of her music. Drums are sounding a lot better in this one, more realistic, thank goodness. She really owns this song, really great and happy, makes you bounce in your seat. Really like this. :)
10. Without A Word - This is the only original song in the album, the rest are all covers. Have no idea what that electronic intro is meant to be, it was one of those, 'oh god, not again' moments. But the piano comes in and she sings, and it warms you a little. Makes you wonder why she didn't add more of her own material to this album, she's a great songwriter. The rhythm of this is slightly confusing, whether it doubles in speed or it's irregular time changes, can't put my head around it. But it's a beautiful song, once you get over these minor things, and listen to the voice, it's great.
11. Terrible Love - This final track is a cover of a song by The National. Sung in a nice key, but the lyrics are basically the same all the way throughout. I know that's not her fault, but it's irritating. The violins and electric guitar reverb is absolutely stunning in this song. You can feel the emotion and happiness in this song, which is great. This song has a big sound to it, quite amazing.

Overall Rating - 7/10. I am still shocked that this album was by a 15 year old. Second time I've listened to it, I'm more convinced. She has a big future ahead of her, I'm sure. Also, she looks amazing in the album cover, natural and youthful which is a huge breath of fresh air, she's being herself and not slapping her face with make up and being fake like most people nowadays. One thing I would say, she should loose the electric drum beats and bring in more original material, have more songs like Skinny Love where it's just her and the piano but with her own written material. Maybe I'm being too picky but still, it's better like that. My favourites are Shelter, Fire & Rain, maybe Terrible Love at a push, but it's definitely Skinny Love that is the best track on the album. I would recommend it to others, but listen to it on Spotify before buying the album first, so you can get your own opinions of it. But overall, good album and I can't wait to hear more from her.

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