Birdy’s ‘Fire Within’: Solid fare from music’s youngest gem

Among the promising crop of girl musicians with substance is Birdy, the 17-year-old songbird from the UK, who you might recognise from her single People Love the People.

Birdy's sophomore offering Fire Within continues her indie style of thoughtful lyrics, soaring, Coldplay-esque melodies, and fragile reflections on love and relationships.

Wings is the album's first single, and draws heavily on co-writer and One Republic frontman Ryan Tedde's experience of creating songs for big acts such as Maroon 5 and Leona Lewis. While it's a solid single, it comes across as a little formulaic. In fact, one can't help thinking it sounds almost exactly like One Republic's Stop and Stare.

One of the standout tracks is Light Me Up, a feel-good, inspirational hit that will have you belting along in your car. It is the only song composed solely by Birdy, and is arguably the best.

Birdy shows her vocal range in Heart of Gold, and although she's no big diva like Adele, her voice is unique enough to pull it off.

Words as Weapons is a minimal, folksy gem, interspersed with violins and Birdy's staple use of the piano.

Strange Birds perfectly captures self-contempt and longing with the lines: "I want to be heard/ my wounded wings still beating/ you've always loved the stranger inside me, ugly pretty."

No Angel is an emotive tale about broken love, made all the more intimate by Birdy using only her voice and the piano.

Unfortunately, the songs that are not saved by charm or good lyrics come off as a little dull. Birdy's fragility at times reads as purely morose, and she is not an experienced enough musician to carry it off.

The fact is, her youth shows. Birdy is still pretty green, and her music lacks the punch and durability to be sure-fire classics.

However, Fire Within is by no means a loss; it's a beautiful, introspective offering by an artist with a great deal of potential.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Standouts: Light me up, Strange birds
Skip it: All you never say, Maybe

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


Safety at schools: ‘Keep your distance and your pen’

The department of basic education has developed guidelines to assist schools with minimising the spread of the coronavirus

‘Soon he’ll be seen as threatening, not cute’: What it’s...

There is no separating George Floyd’s killing from the struggles black people have faced ever since the first slave ships landed on these shores

How schools could work during Covid

Ahead of their opening, the basic education department has given schools three models to consider to ensure physical distancing

Press Releases

Mining company uses rich seam of technology to gear up for Covid-19

Itec Direct technology provides instant temperature screening of staff returniing to the workplace with no human contact

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday