More than 2 years after its release, Birdy‘s cover of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” is still hovering around the lower end of iTunes Top 100. Clearly, the 17-year-old alt-pop interpreter would do just fine living off the royalties of that hit. She bravely soldiers on with a sophomore effort of original tunes anyway. “Wings” is the lead single from her upcoming album “Fire Within” (no easy poultry puns, please), and if it’s an indication of quality, then she’s got nothing to worry about stepping away from the covers.
Sonically, it’s pleasingly stuck in 2005, when the likes of Snow Patrol, Keane and Coldplay were hugely popular with their brand of sensitive indie stadium-pop. You can even sing the chorus of “Yellow” on top of it if you like. Not that I’m complaining, it’s been long enough to feel nostalgic for those days. “Wings” is stately, immaculately-produced Radio 2 pop and an immense grower of a song.
In the music video directed by the legendary Sophie Muller (who previously worked with her on “Skinny Love” and “Shelter”), Birdy seems to find herself at an ennui-laden costume party, but even I’d be pretty down too if my dress sleeves were fashioned out of steamer baskets. Watch the lovely video below.
Ever the samaritan, Birdy has also offered an MP3 of trip-hoppy album cut “All You Never Say” for the price of your email address. Go for it, it’s worth it. The instrumental middle eight is particularly beautiful.
DOWNLOAD: Birdy – All You Never Say
I look forward to adding this album to my music-for-rainy-days category.
Birdy‘s debut album is a delightful collection of songs beautifully interpreted by a voice and talent beyond her years. However, one of my favorite tracks are not even on the standard version. Hidden away as a bonus gem on the deluxe edition is a peculiar choice of cover, Mew‘s 8-minute arena-rock epic “Comforting Sounds”. At first I was quite curious and a little worried upon seeing its inclusion on the tracklist, and fortunately, Jasmine’s version does not disappoint. It’s a bold move to not only keep the original length, but also play up the scale by filling the latter half with a stirring widescreen string arrangement and Bjork-esque broken beats. Her weary, aching delivery evokes an quietly devastating kind of melancholy. It is just what I expect it to be: a sublime, orchestral piece of end-credits-worthy wallowfest. It’s a great interpretation that I didn’t even think could exist, but I’m glad it does. If you’re down for some pre-holiday gloom, click play. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya.
STREAM: Birdy – Comforting Sounds (Mew Cover)
Despite not having blogged about her at all, I have slowly developed a soft spot for Birdy, aka Jasmine Van den Bogaerde. The English 15-year-old has got herself quite a unique niche in delivering stirring covers of indie faves like Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love”, and The xx’s “Shelter”. With her debut self-titled album out on November 7, she is giving away a free download of album track “White Winter Hymnal”. Such good timing it is too, considering the Northeast’s unfortunately early winter this year. The Fleet Foxes cover boasts a fuller production than her more minimally arranged singles, and it’s a reliably lovely, soothing ditty. Download it below.
I must confess to thoroughly enjoying all her singles so far. There’s something special about Birdy that sets her apart from your average Youtube bedroom warbler. I like her quietly subversive practice of picking these supposedly low-key, marginally obscure indie songs, belting them out for the unfamiliar masses, and granting them new life as future X Factor audition staples. I couldn’t care less if her cover choices are of her own picking or painstakingly narrowed down in a dungeon somewhere by A&R monkeys. At the end of day, it’s melodies being beautifully sung, and that’s enough for me. I expect the album to be essential winter listening.
Watch the video for her latest single, a version of Cherry Ghost’s “People Help The People”, and peep the tracklist after the jump.