I noticed that English songstress Birdy has a new album out this week – Beautiful Lies – and after giving it a quick play I’ve been pleased to hear that it’s a really nice collection of music. Very Adele-like at times, which isn’t a bad thing, and definitely worth an hour of anyone’s time to listen to.
She’s already released a few singles – including the fantastic Keeping Your Head Up and the slightly-less awesome Wild Horses – but it’s the rest of the album where the real quality lies. Check out opening track Growing Pains or Deep End to see what I mean. And check out the deluxe version of the album if you can too – if nothing else, just to hear the acoustic version of her 2013 single Wings, which is excellent.
But for today’s post, I’m actually going to go back a little bit in her back catalogue and pick something from her 2011 eponymous debut release. And I’ll be breaking at least one or two of my rules here too – as I’ve known the song for quite some time (so it’s not really “new”) and it’s also a cover. But hey, screw it, it’s my blog so I’m entitled to a little leeway from time to time.
Now, Birdy gained her first piece of exposure with a hauntingly beautiful version of Bon Iver’s Skinny Love (which is also on her debut) and while I’ll admit that her rendition is indeed amazing, it’s not the best song on the album.
That prize goes, in my opinion, to her cover version of the Postal Service’s The District Sleeps Alone Tonight. Because it’s absolutely lovely, sad, beautiful and soulfully melancholy – and she was a teenager when she recorded it.
I’ve heard some great versions of this song – including stripped back acoustic renditions by Frank Turner and Ben Marwood – but this one is by far the best. The piano, the sultry looped beats and that voice (and holy crap, what a voice it is) makes this an absolute must listen. It’s comfortably up there in my top five covers of all time.