The album opens with some quiet glockenspiel and rhythmic piano chords with the song 1901, dictating the reflective and feminine tone for Birdy’s first album. The fact that she’s a young teenage girl still at college shows in this album, because you can hear how raw and vulnerable the music is.
When Birdy first hit the scene with her cover of ‘Skinny Love’, people were touched by her innocent teenage voice and her delicate charm lent itself to the next single of ‘Shelter’ by The XX. All of this had us anticipating her first album including her own material and not just more covers. The fact that she had only released covers before however created a certain unpredictability in how her own material would be.
The first thing I noticed about her own compositions were that they, in the main, seem to be less stripped back than we were originally led to believe. Birdy’s first single of her own composition, ‘People Help the People’, is perhaps more full of passion than her previous singles however is accompanied by a string section and band instead of just the piano, as she previously was. This creates more of a sense of the mainstream. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though. In fact the song ‘I’ll Never Forget You’, although sounding more mainstream, still reverts back to what she does best; singing alone with the piano, as does ‘The District Sleeps Alone Tonight’. Her more mainstream songs are good I have to say, but when you’ve got a voice as crisp as Birdy does, you don’t need any pretences; only a piano.
In this album you can certainly hear her influences. There’s a definite element of Adele in there, with the soulful vocals creating a more pop sounding genre, rather than leaning towards the alternative which she certainly could have done.
The song that immediately jumped out at me from the track listing was White Winter Hymnal by Fleet Foxes. Her stunning vocals combined with such a gorgeous song should have been profoundly affecting, however Birdy has appeared to take an unpredictable spin on the song. She creates, yet again, a more mainstream sounding song than the original song had by throwing in all instruments from the start. Although I know it’s subjective, for me, this cover doesn’t match up to the stunning resonance of her first two. However perhaps it is merely just something different, and after all in music there’s never anything wrong with a departure from the normal.
Overall, for her age Birdy has certainly managed to live up to her expectations remarkably well. Her melodic and delicate style is something that’s very identifiable and shows potential to grow.