Album Review: ‘Young Heart’ by Birdy ★★★★
While her previous record, Beautiful Lies, released in 2015, carried a sense of whimsy and theatrics, ‘Young Heart’ – now available as of April 30th - drags the listener back to reality, telling a tale of pain, heartbreak and loss.
The central conflict of the album revolves around the need to hide away from the world whilst simultaneously feeling a longing to discover new places and experience new things. This theme is probably best exemplified by the opening track of the record titled ‘Voyager’ which shares the struggle of wanting to break away from a bad relationship despite the daunting task of telling your partner who is none the wiser. Do you break the status quo despite the pain it will cause or do you stick to it, regardless of the unhappiness it brings you. The rest of the record follows the consequences of the decision: the pain and loneliness of missing someone you still care about, the acceptance of grief being central to love and longing for the unknown while dealing with the comfort of familiarity.
This contrast in thoughts and ideals is displayed through the stark difference in the instrumental and vocal performances. The piano ballads and acoustics create a sense of serenity almost drawing the listener into a false sense of security Meanwhile, Birdy’s dark, sombre lyrics play out, which, while beautiful, carry pain and sorrow the seeming dissonance between the two elements working together to make the music that much more emotional and raw.
Speaking of Young Heart, Birdy says: I’m so proud of this album, my last record was a lot more theatrical – there was a lot going on, it was a big production. Whereas this is quite stripped back - anything that didn’t need to be there, isn’t. There’s no decoration. This album just feels very personal – I’ve grown up a lot over the past five years and have experienced new things that have shaped my understanding of the world, but also of who I am as an artist. This album means a lot to me - I want to protect it.”
This personal approach to the project has allowed Birdy to truly capture the experience of love and loss, allowing listeners to resonate with a pain many are all too familiar with.