Birdy ‘Birdy’ Album Review

Birdy or Jasmine van den Bogaerde has chosen some fantastic covers from Fleet Foxes to The Postal Service; whilst her cover of ‘Skinny Love’ rivals that of Bon Iver’s for beauty. However, too often it doesn’t feel like she has stamped her identity well enough onto songs but merely covered them with a piano; a prime example is that of ‘Young Blood’ (Naked and Famous) where the structure of the song is unchanged, whilst her voice on Terrible Love attempts to replicate that of Matt Berninger (The National).

The highlight of this album has to be ‘Without a Word’, the one song on the album written by Birdy, it clearly shows the potential of the young women and the album would have benefitted from more of her own songs. Both ‘Without a Word’ and ‘Skinny Love’ benefit from the delicate vocals and piano, however, after an album of this it does become a little repetitive. There are also some clear comparisons formed between Birdy and Adele and it feels a little bit of the record company trying to capitalise on this.

There are some beautiful moments on this album but it is mostly an average affair. However, she is only 15 years old and with some better direction she could create something quite wonderful.

Key Songs: Skinny Love, Without a Word, I’ll Never Forget You and People Help The People

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The Subways ‘Money and Celebrity’ Review

On first listen to this album it is underwhelming, the band have moved on to a more power pop sound and the screaming has been toned down. However, on subsequent listens you can’t help fall for their clever hooks and shouty choruses. This is a sound that the band do very well, the songs are simple in their structures, there is only three of them and so musically it is simple and the lyrics sound like a seven year old has wrote them, but that is what is genius about them and this album; as it is refreshing to listen to an album just for fun and to dance to which is actually quite rare. They also realise to keep their songs short and snappy; with the album coming in at 37 minutes means you don’t get bored with it.

I have read some reviews asking whether The Subways are relevant, because guitar music (appears) on the way out, but actually this album is incredibly relevant and the key is that it is fun. I hear so much music that is depressing, take for example Adele, but here are a band that just want to have a good time and they want people to get on board with them, not for some political rant or heartbreak ride but just to have a wicked time.

This probably won’t see The Subways thrust into the limelight and it certainly isn’t there strongest album but it’s certainly a good fun listen and will transfer well in live gigs.

Key Songs: We Don’t Need Money To Have A Good Time, Like I Love You & Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Mercury Prize A Short Review

PJ Harvey (the bookies favourite), walked away with the mercury prize again! It is a well deserved award, her album whilst not an easy listen; through her brutal lyrics (she references wars and the Gallipoli campaign), she ties it in with soft melodies and rhythm. It is also a great achievement for PJ Harvey to become not only the first woman to win the Mercury (back in 2001 with Stories from the City) but now she is the first artist to win the award twice.

Last year I got the winner right with The XX but this year I was wrong as my money was on Elbow’s Build a Rocket Boys! It sees these everyday rockers showing their most creative side whilst the lyrics are solely rooted in urban life.

What I found disappointing when I first heard the nominations is that Villagers, who was shortlisted, failed to make the final cut; as Conor J. O’Brien created a tender album that swells with each listening. However, the list of nominations was extremely high this year and PJ Harvey definitely deserves to win again. Congrats!

The Nominations were as follows:

PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

Adele – 21

Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi

Elbow – Build A Rocket Boys!

Everything Everything – Man Alive

Ghostpoet – Peanut Butter and Melancholy Jam

Gwilym Simcock – Good Days at Schloss Elmau

James Blake – James Blake

Katy B – On A Mission

King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine

Metronomy – The English Riviera

Tinie Tempah – Disc-Overy