Birdy
Birdy


4.0
excellent

Review

by Fugue USER (58 Reviews)
November 16th, 2011 | 23 replies | 9,690 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Or: The Art of Covers by Jasmine Van den Bogaerde.

6 of 6 thought this review was well written

Talent shows aside, the releasing of a cover album tends to be a rare event. Often the final straw of a long-forgotten artist looking to gain a little more commercial viability, the cover album is oft derided as an unimaginative slur on the profession and habitually disregarded by fans. Despite the apparent ease of rehashing an old idea however, the best cover albums take just as much effort as an original LP; for by taking an already cherished song and modifying it just enough to justify the cover the interpreter is effectively penning a new work anyway. Whether this new direction eventually enhances or worsens the song is down to a multitude of factors, not least the skill of the singer and the tenacity with which the initial song is praised, but the risk of tarnishing what is probably somebody’s favourite song (however deluded this may make them) remains regardless. In this sense at least, releasing a cover album is a brave move indeed.

And so we come to Birdy, the latest in a line of teenage British females touted as the “next best thing”. In recent years the hyperbole surrounding any up-and-coming star from the motherland has become something of a running joke, but Birdy has a little more about her than your average “next big thing”. Propelled through the overwhelming reaction to her early single; the infamous Skinny Love cover that debuted at number 10 on the singles chart, Birdy’s extensive palate was revealed along with her wonderfully innocent voice. In many respects, her self-titled debut is a continuation of her early promise, the covers frequently doing justice to the originals.

Whether it’s taking the fuzzy buoyancy of Phoenix’s 1901 and reinventing it with an introspectively sombre melody and hushed vocals or faultlessly masquerading Cherry Ghost’s People Help the People as a subtle beacon of hope, Birdy manages to capitalize upon the emotional aspects of the originals and manipulate them in entirely new directions. It is when this emotional reconstruction expands upon the original ideas of the song, such as through her haunting rendition of The Postal Service’s The District Sleeps Tonight, that Birdy surpasses her contemporaries and shows her true potential as a vocalist.

It is the times when a distinct direction for the covers isn’t evident that the record shows any hints of naivety. In her enthusiasm, Birdy occasionally oversteps her mark and takes a song in an unfavourable direction. In hindsight, covering James Taylor was perhaps a touch ambitious and Fire and Rain pays too much homage to the great man and doesn’t deviate enough to distinguish itself. It is perhaps, unfortunate that Without a Word, the sole foray into singer-songwriter territory, is the one track to really highlight the inexperience of youth. In isolation the track isn’t unduly poor, but when surrounded by such company, it’s hard to not notice the comparative song writing weaknesses, and tellingly it’s the only instance where the sweet vocal melodies are less than assured.

In the end, however the mini slump towards the end of the record is little more than an insignificance for Birdy is an exhibition in the potential for covers, and with little more than her voice and some classical accompaniment Birdy has transformed these songs into her own. It’s disappointing that the only truly original piece here is also the weakest, but potential highlight Terrible Love succeeds in ending the album on a high regardless. If Birdy can hone her song writing skills and deliver original content with the same emotional panache that she managed with the majority of these songs then she will go far. Time is on her side, and at only 15 Birdy has the potential to be this generation’s Kate Bush.

Overall 4.0 Excellent



Recent reviews by this author
Howl Griff Fragile DiamondMarina and The Diamonds Electra Heart
Say Anything Anarchy, My DearJack White Blunderbuss
Battles Dross GlopTake One Car It's Going To Be A Nice Day
user ratings (56)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
pizzamachine
November 16th 2011



12571 Comments


Great review.

Fugue
November 16th 2011



7351 Comments


Thanks Pizza, means a lot.

It's been a while though, so if y'all could point out any mistakes or whatever that'd be cool.

theacademy
November 16th 2011



28225 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yea boi

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
November 16th 2011



16081 Comments


is this actually a 5 acad

theacademy
November 16th 2011



28225 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

idk i liked it its cute

vanderlyle
November 17th 2011



156 Comments


r u srs

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
November 17th 2011



7312 Comments


Nice review Ross. Some of the stuff in the first paragraph is a bit unneccessary but otherwise an enjoyable read.

I'll look into this. I didn't like her Skinny Love cover because for me that's a pretty much uncoverable song, but she has an undeniably great voice.

Fugue
November 17th 2011



7351 Comments


Thanks Ali. I think I understand what you mean about the first paragraph, it all seemed very relevant when I was writing it, but on reading back it sounds maybe a little contrived? I'm not sure, but 6 months is a long time, so hopefully I'll be able to iron out some of the issues in my next review.

If you weren't really one for the Skinny Love cover, I'd say check out the Terrible Love or People Help the People ones as they both do similar things but with arguably worse material. If they don't do much for you though then I doubt the album will be worth your time.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
November 17th 2011



7312 Comments


Haha I'll listen to anything so I'll give it a try

jrowa001
November 17th 2011



8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good to see this reviewed. i just got it and i liked it a lot. this is true young talent, not what mtv and nickelodeon and the disney channel shove down our throats

Gyromania
November 17th 2011



15164 Comments


Great review, Ross; pos! I really like what you did with this.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
November 20th 2011



7312 Comments


Album was a bit hit and miss for me, but I really liked her Terrible Love cover.

Douglas
December 25th 2011



9049 Comments


Sweet review Ross. I'd like this I reckon.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
December 25th 2011



6319 Comments


This album is terrible...
Great review, though

Digging: Sully - Blue

David Bereuther
April 3rd 2012



10 Comments


album gets boring very fast

Steoandnoodles
April 22nd 2012



2832 Comments


The problem with an album like this is that she doesn't have the credibility of writing any of the
songs (except for Without a Word) as well as them sounding (in my opinion) largely worse than the
original versions.
So, what do you really have? =/
Sure, she put her own twist on them but that either means they are overly dramatic or stroppy and
boring. I dunno...

Fantastic review though. =)
Great read.

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
July 1st 2012



7956 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah most of the songs are just worse, more boring versions of songs I like

PuddlesPuddles
July 10th 2012



4761 Comments


Come on. It really isn't that hard to make an amazing cover of Terrible Love

camaraderie
July 12th 2012



988 Comments


Is making a cover album your debut AND your self-titled album really such a good idea?

DarthMann
August 23rd 2012



13476 Comments


in 5 years she might be good but she copies adele hard



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy