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English singer-songwriter Jasmine van den Bogaerde–better known by her stage name, Birdy–delivers an album filled with hidden gems for her third LP, Beautiful Lies.
The album is filled with themes of love, uncertainty and hope. It has an equal mix of slower piano-type ballads and slow building songs that blossom suddenly as their catchy hooks dig in. These come unexpected at times, as most of Birdy’s previous material have been on the slower side. The songs on this album have a more uplifting tone and often a quicker pace.
Her lead single, “Keeping Your Head Up,” is the most uplifting and made-for-radio track on the project. The hook is the catchiest on the album and the song is the most accessible to listeners who’ve never heard her music.
The strongest tracks on the album, however, are her slow-building, hidden gems. They start off like her piano-backed ballads but building slowly through her opening verse before the hook drops. The songs “Deep end,” “Silhouette” and her survival anthem, “Wild Horses,” all follow the piano formula. The last two best show her constant message of holding onto hope and persevering.
Don’t go holding your breath,
You know that I’m not done yet,
There’s still a fight in me left.
Don’t go shouting out loud,
That you’re claiming the crown,
I’m down but not out.
-Birdy on “Silhouette”
The album has a Japanese influence to it, Birdy said in an interview with Pop Crush. The influence came as a result of reading Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha. Where this is most evident is the album’s opening track, “Growing Pains.” It kicks the album off with a ring of a gong and a sort of oriental-sounding rhythm. Besides that and the album cover of Birdy in a kimono, it is hard to pinpoint a strong showing of the Japanese influence.
What the album does point to is Birdy’s life experience to date of love and maturing into a young woman.
Birdy first gained recognition for her haunting 2011 cover of indie folk band Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love”.
Beautiful Lies is available for purchase and streaming.