Release Date: Nov 15, 2011
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter
Jasmine van den Bogaerde, a.k.a. Birdy, is a 15-year old singer and pianist from Lymington, England, who cracked the U.K. Top 20 with a cover of Bon Iver’s "Skinny Love" even more dolorous than the original. On her debut, she repeats the trick nine more times, warbling sad-sack versions of songs by the National, Fleet Foxes and other indie worthies.
On the face of it, the self-titled debut from 15-year-old Birdy, aka Jasmine van den Bogaerde, doesn't seem any different from the hastily assembled cash-in covers albums released every year by the various X Factor alumni. But although its 11 renditions of mostly contemporary songs, many of which could be passed off as originals due to their previous lack of exposure, stick to the tried-and-tested talent show formula, that's where the comparisons end. Indeed, you won't find any karaoke standards or renditions of Miley Cyrus songs here, as this stripped-back collection of lesser-known hits and album tracks reads like a who's who of lo-fi hipster indie rock.
Too bad Hampshire 15-year-old Jasmine van den Bogaerde has adopted the rather twee "Birdy" as her stage name – her real one would have been more fitting for this collection of schoolgirlishly sincere indie covers. (She writes her own songs, but stuck to covers for this debut outing because it gave her more time to study for her GCSEs. ) Her taste is impeccable, so let's give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she, rather than her producers, chose the likes of Bon Iver's Skinny Love and the National's Terrible Love.
Fifteen-year-old Jasmine Van den Bogaerde began her career with a cover of Bon Iver's "Skinny Love", a YouTube posting that's had more than 7m views. It's the moment she sings "tell my love to wreck it all" that her voices blooms from fragility into something spine-meltingly plangent, and the track is easily the high point of her debut album. There's a soulful, full-bodied version of the xx's "Shelter" and a less successful take on James Taylor's "Fire and Rain", but the one self-written song, "Without a Word", suggests she might become even more than just a startling voice.
Birdy, nee Jasmine van den Bogaerde, may be well-known to UK audiences due to her win on a Reality TV singing competition there in 2008. The fact that she was only 12 when she won Open Mic UK may have kept her in the public consciousness a bit more than the typical talent show winner. As an American, my first awareness of Birdy arrived with “Just a Game”, her quiet, aching closer to The Hunger Games soundtrack album.
Jasmine Van den Bogaerde, you might think, doesn’t get it. The New Forest 15-year-old’s take on [a]Bon Iver[/a]’s ‘[b]Skinny Love[/b]’ may offend because it does not plumb the depths of Real Indie Music, but she’s actually damn smart. By putting out a tasteful set of sorrow-wallowing wet-indie covers produced by [b]James Ford[/b] just before Christmas, she’s building a profile that’ll allow her considerably more control over album number two.
A clever covers set from the 15-year-old singer, which points to a great future. Nick Levine 2011 The word "haunting" is common as gossip in pop criticism – wont to tag everything from Phil Collins' chocolate flogger In the Air Tonight to the Eminem murder ballad that references it, Stan. But there's really no other word to describe the record that gave Birdy wings.