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Review: Fire Within, by Birdy

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Fire Within, by Birdy

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The eighteen year-old English songstress has released two albums. Fire Within includes singles "Wings", "No Angels", "Light Me Up" and "Words As Weapons". The album includes collaborations with Sia Furler and Ryan Tedder.

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Birdy is also part of The Fault in Our Stars soundtrack with three different tracks. She shares musical duties with Ed Sheeran, Lykke Li, M83 and OneRepublic. The soundtrack has thus far peaked at #8 in the North America. The film grossed over 48 million in the US on its first weekend and thus far has grossed four times its budget in North America and an additional doubling worldwide. Watch the music video for "Tee Shirt" attached to this review.

More on the album:

"Skinny Love" is a piano-driven track with a hopeful tone. 'Come on skinny love, please last year' starts the song as she questions herself and her intentions to be happy. The song is sensitive and enhanced by the raw vocals.

"WIngs" the first song written and produced by the OneRepublic frontman, is very much his element. It is reminiscent of "Stop and Stare" and features Ryan's vocals. Lyrically it discusses the power of memories and the strength of longing for something which is no longer. 'Oh, the lights go down. In the moment we're lost and found. I just want to be by your side, if these wings could fly.' (Trivia: OneRepublic recorded "Lost and Found" with Leona Lewis for her 2009 album, Echo.)

"Heart of Gold" is a sweet ode to forgiveness. The base track is soothing, and not very bold. Despite the fact, there are some rhythmic tools which give the calm track loads of personality.

"Light Me Up" was released as the third single earlier this year. The song has a potent base track and a radio-friendly quality. The vibe is made up of the desire to remain close to an individual who inspires change, support and comfort. 'You light me up. When all I see if darkness. You light me up, when I am down.'

"Words As Weapons" is the current, and forth single. This is the second track which involved Tedder in the creative process. This sounds like one of the band's newest tracks, "I Have Lived". The beats are consistently the same. This is not the first time Tedder creates different tracks which sound similarly (in 2009 Beyonce released "Halo" and Kelly Clarkson released "Already Gone" and the two tracks were written with Tedder).

"All You Never Say" is a ballad, which accompanies her vocals with a piano. This softly sung track discusses giving up and hiding behind the fears of being happy or breaking the mold. 'Are you uncertain? Or just scared to drop your guard? Have you been broken? Are you afraid to show your heart?'

"Strange Birds" discusses one's inner voice, or that of an outside source. This faith-ridden track was co-written with Sia Furler, who influences the vocal performance. The song begins softly with a piano, and builds up with the first chorus as it becomes more and more dramatic, in Furler fashion.

"Maybe" is a breezy, upbeat track with hunting guitar-strumming and backing harmonies. The song discusses the desire to be free to love. 'Someone, we'll meet on the hight street. We'll laugh about when we worried about what we might be.'

"No Angels" strips to basics once more. The lyrics talk about the way we hurt each other and the intentions behind our decisions. 'I ain't no angel. I never was. But I never hurt you. It's not my fault.'

"All About You" is the most verbose of the album's lyrical matter. Despite the title reading as a dig to someone who is self-involved, the track actually discusses how we often can see others' struggles easily and that level of awareness, in the form of advice, can help us on a communal level. 'Here I am still holding on; you're finding ways to break the bonds, they're stronger than you realize. And you could say that I've not tried, I've let you down, left you behind but you're the one who's saying goodbye. And you don't have to do this on your own.'

"Standing in The Way of The Light" is a mid-tempo track which compiles instrumentals and vocal acrobatics from around the album to make an interesting sing-along. The inspiring track is about one's responsibility to be and experience life how we desire. We 'stand in the way of' our own light with fears and expectation.

"Shine" and "People Help The People" work as the two empowering ballads at the end of the album. "People" is the second track that is extra on the US version of the album. The first being the first track of the album. This is a cover version of a Cherry Ghost single released in 2007. This is more wordy than "Shine" and discusses the need of coming together as people, for we all share the struggle and the love which keeps us going forward.

Other reviews:

Films: Kumu Hina (documentary) : Southern Baptist Sissies, the movie : OFIR (documentary) : Ne Te Retourne Pas (short) : Halina (short) : EK (short) : Despite The Gods (documentary) : Materica (short) : Lawrence and Hollowman, the movie : No Strangers (documentary) : Meth Head, the movie : Echoes (short) : Titans of Newark (short) : A Cure (short) : Precious, the movie : This Is It (documentary)

Music: Melanie Martinez's The Dollhouse : Peter Aristone's 19 Days in Tetbury : Lykke Li's I Never Learn : Neon Trees' Pop Psychology : Rufus Wainwright's Rufus Wainwright: Live from the Artists Den : Lily Allen's Sheezus : Ingrid Michaelson's Lights Out : Kelis' Food : The Sounds' Weekend : Austra's Olympia : KENN's We Killed KENN : VV Brown's Samson & Delilah : Sammy Crawford's Reality Sets In : Melanie C's Stages : Madonna's MDNA : Nelly Furtado's Spirit Indestructible : CocoRosie's "We Are On Fire" : Stephan Nance's A Troubled Piece of Fruit

Videos: Christina Aguilera's "Your Body" : Tom Goss' "It's All Over" : Eric Himan's "Dust" : Scissor Sisters' "Only The Horses"

Concerts: Ellie Goulding : The Sounds with Blondfire & Strange Talk : Natasha Bedingfield : Andy Grammer : Kate Voegele

Stand Up: Kevin J Thornton

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