Music review | Birdy- Fire Within

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I have never attempted to do this, so it could go catastrophically wrong. I hope it didn't.

Fire Within is Birdy's second studio album, following her quite successful self-titled debut, which contained covers of Phoenix, The Naked and Famous, Fleet Foxes, The XX, The National and of course, Bon Iver. It didn't exceed anyone's expectations; it was OK, tolerable, but nothing more than that.
However, only 15 months later, she put up a brand new, 11 track album with exclusively original songs in collaboration with plenty well known song-writers and producers. This is how it turned out.

The album opens up with a pretty obvious chart-topper Wings, which was written with One Republic's Ryan Tedder, who has previously worked with Adele, Demi Lovato, Leona Lewis, Beyonce and others. The main thing about this song is that it's pretty obvious that it was written with him, because it's a love song and it has a big, powerful and emotional chorus. It's a very slow song; with that I mean that it takes a very long while to build up to its peek and some people might find it very boring and just skip it. However, I actually find it very likeable, but that is only a personal preference.
Anyway, if it's going to top the charts all over the world, at least it will be a good song that sits on top, not some auto-tuned crap.

Wings is followed by Heart Of Gold, one of two songs written exclusively by Birdy herself. In my opinion (as in the opinion of other musical critics), this is Birdy's weakest song, because of the songs meaning. It's about a girl getting way too emotionally invested in something or someone (which is actually a brilliant way to describe Tumblr). It still shows that she can write songs by herself, but it's not the best. For the next couple of years, maybe she should co-write her songs with others, but right now, it's probably the weakest song she's ever written and the one I like the least.

On the other side, the third track of the album, Light Me Up is probably one of my two favourite tracks of the album. It's very Florence + The Machine-esque, especially the muffled keyboard section at the beginning and then a very quick build up to the chorus, where's Birdy's joined by some gospel-sounding back vocalists. As for the meaning of the song: a F+TM inspired love song, which are the two things in the world I love the most.

Words As Weapons (again, written with Ryan Tedder) happens to be my favourite track of the album. Opening with only the guitar, her voice seems to work perfectly with the flow of the whole song and with the added strings in the background, it just adds to the emotionality of the song and it will echo in your ears for hours on end.

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Tracks 5 and 8, All You Never Say and No Angel show Birdy's ability to write as an adult song-writer and it makes her likeable to the older audience. The thing about these songs is that they're still love songs, but they're not repetitive. They're melancholic, accompanied mostly by the piano and some percussion and they're not boring. They're songs that people will want to listen to over and over again.

Strange Birds is a similar song to Words As Weapons. It's very emotional, very dark, the backing vocals aren't annoying and don't seem out of place and it's very melancholic. It's probably the most hauntingly beautiful song of the album as it closes with a very weak vocal performance from Birdy and quiet piano chords. Ironically, the song's followed by Maybe, probably the most optimistic song on the whole album. It's quirky and perky and really happy. It's about having things and getting them and it's perhaps one of the most optimistic songs Birdy's ever written and it's also very likeable.

All About You is a song about (I think) about someone who wants to do everything by themselves and doesn't let anyone. That person is broken inside and wants someone, but doesn't let anyone near them (perhaps because of fear? I don't know). It's very enjoyable and quite upbeat and not so melancholic as the previous songs were.

Standing In The Way Of The Light and Shine are those songs that just conclude anything in the most perfect way possible. In Standing In The Way Of The Light, the reoccurring theme of piano, percussion, strings, quick build up to its peek and little backing vocals appear and like said for All You Never Say and No Angel, it's one of those love songs that you haven't heard yet and it isn't boring. It's really great and I quite like it.
Shine is the second song that Birdy wrote all by herself and it's the complete opposite of Heart Of Gold. It's actually good. Like, properly good. It's mostly piano and the (very highly appreciated) harp and backing vocals. It's very stripped back and reminds of Skinny Love and I think that's what made people love Birdy's music. Although the melody and the tempo are slower, it's an optimistic song and it concludes the album brilliantly.

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This album can offer anything you want, considering quality of the lyrics, the melody, etc. There are really good songs (like Light Me Up, Words As Weapons, Shine, Strange Birds, Standing In The Way Of The Light), the average (All About You, Maybe, All You Never Say, No Angels, Wings) and the kind of shit songs (Heart Of Gold). I can happily say that even though there are some songs that not a lot of people will like, the good songs overrule them no matter what and it makes it a good album.
This is Birdy's second album, so she has time to get better and writing songs, but considering that she's merely 17 years old (and I'll be 16 in two months), it's probably the best album any person her age would be able to ever put up. Lorde is approximately the same age as her, yet her album (which is so highly overrated) seems like a piece of shit in comparison to this.
It didn't exceed my expectations, but it didn't disappoint me either. It's a very good album for a person of her age and I think that people should give it a chance and see her talent.

All in all, I quite liked it and I'd give it a very optimistic 3.5/5.

I have a feeling this was a disaster. Do let me know if you liked it or not (and if not, I will never do anything like this ever again) and I shall see you tomorrow!
xxx Katherine


  1. NO NO NO This was brilliant! Please do more! I liked your review very much and it was easy for me to understand (and considering this is coming from someone not very interested in music, it's a bloody compliment). I usually don't like music reviews, but yours was lovely. Professional, too.
    I like Birdy and her songs and this is a nice blogpost.
    Anyway, I really hope you do more.

    P. S.: I LOLed at the Tumblr thing! :D

  2. OK, thank fuck, because I really want to do more. Hahahahahahaa thank god :D


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