I have never waited for an album to be released. But for Fire Within from Birdy, I have with great anticipation. The first song off the new album, ‘Wings’, which had been released at the end of July fulfilled my high expectations I had on the second album right away. It is a typical Birdy song, and in addition to her outstanding voice and skills at the piano, the drums give this song a special notion. It entails lyrics full of wishes and dreams, thinking of someone but not being able to be together, followed by the regret that one does not have wings to fly.
I absolutely admire Birdy for her dramatic first album with ‘Skinny Love’, ‘Shelter’, ‘People Help the People’ and other poignant songs. Her perfect voice, her lyrics full of love, you want to believe she herself had these experiences at the sweet age of 15 years. All of this contributed to a perfect debut album from the first song to the last. The second album is a piece of art as well. Birdy, now 17, wrote all 15 songs herself. Once again, her lyrics are mainly about family and friendship, strength and weakness, love and heartache, growing up but still being (too) young.
But it is missing a tiny bit of the drama of the first album. Some songs need to be listened to several times to be fully uncovered and convincing, to let them into your heart. ‘Heart of Gold’, ‘All You Never Say’ and ‘Maybe’ might be some of those songs. Others, like ‘Light Me Up’ intoxicates you right away. It surprises with an amazing change of pace in the melody and rhythm which suits the lyrics perfectly. This track sees Birdy’s voice reach a new state of strength, which I had never heard before.
In ‘No Angel’ Birdy plays all her strong cards, the piano, the lyrics, the voice. It is about growing up, and Birdy has certainly broken out of her shell. It has this beautiful sadness you want to hear when heartbroken, happily in love or just in the mood to chill. But especially when heartbroken, you need someone by your side, someone who knows ‘All About You’, who cares. Birdy’s first song with a guitar says all that in a beautiful manner and picks you up again, when left in too wistful of a mood.
The last three songs are maybe the most honest and most self reflecting songs Birdy has ever written. ‘The Same’ is nothing about being the same as others, on the contrary, Birdy for the first time brings up the issue of fame and the so-called friends that come with it. It is again the combination of the piano and her voice which are the carrying elements of this song, which let you forget your surroundings for a few minutes.
In ‘Older’ she regrets being too young to be with a man she is in love with. Maybe she writes from her own experience, maybe not. But most likely she, as a teenage girl, spends most of her time in studios and on tour and therefore has no real chance to meet guys her own age.
“Home is where my heart is” – a line out of her song ‘Home’ summarizes, what Birdy often emphasizes in her interviews. As much as she enjoys being on tour, she enjoys her time at home where she gets most of her inspiration from. “Home is where my heart is” – and you believe her instantly.
All in all, Birdy’s second album is again a brilliant piece of art which shows her amazing talent as a singer and songwriter.
Fire Within was released on 14th Floor/Atlantic Records on the 23rd of September 2013