Birdy’s “Young Heart” Retrospective: A Journey to Healing | Arts


In our hectic daily lives, it often seems utopian to find time to reflect on past grievances. English indie-folk singer-songwriter Birdy opens up this space beautifully in her fourth studio album “Young Heart.” “Young Heart” was released on April 30, 2021 and took four years to complete – a painstaking process that is reflected in the album’s story arc, from grief to healing.

“Young Heart” marks a turning point in Birdy’s musical career. The instrumental interplay between guitar and piano brings out a warm, stripped-down sound and leaves behind the big, theatrical sound we’ve heard on previous albums, like ‘Beautiful Lies’. Birdy’s vulnerable, conversational lyrics — which stem from the singer’s personal experience of a breakup — are undoubtedly the album’s highlight. It’s amazing how she nevertheless manages to make it her most poetic, relatable and heartwarming album to date, reflecting her growth as a person and an artist.

The album’s first song depicts a parting, which can be interpreted as being from a partner, a situation, or even a country; “Voyager” begins with birdsong, a playful allusion to his stage name and an ode to spring, the season of departure. The final line of the chorus, “I am a traveler, and I travel,” describes her very nature: free-spirited and unapologetic as she heads toward her next calling. Although the song’s guitar instrumentation provides one of the happiest and fastest tempos on the album, the lyrics juxtapose these upbeat sounds with a hint of melancholy about the inevitable end of the relationship or the situation: “I know our days are numbered, but you don’t know I feel this way / You don’t hear loneliness calling me. From the start of the album, she introduces loneliness into the frame of the healing experience – a thread she weaves through several songs.

On “Nobody Knows Me Like You Do,” Birdy returns to familiar territory with a soulful piano ballad that features some of the album’s most piercing and personal lyrics. The minor chords and slow, independent melodies she assigns to the piano interact beautifully with Birdy’s voice, evoking the image of her harmony with her beloved. She reflects on her conflicting feelings about the breakup through paradoxical lyrics. “I swore I’d be fine until I realized you still love me” can refer to a silver lining, but also shows how the feeling is hampered by the fact that the other person has not evolved. Its falsetto contrasts with the lower range of the piano chords to reflect the tension in the lyrics. Towards the end of the ballad, she confronts her guilt and regret over the breakup: “And I know I decided we had different lives to lead / I don’t know what I thought I found when I was free .”

With its hesitant guitar strum and lyrics like “Little Blue finds me / Creeps over my heart”, “Little Blue”, the album’s most intriguing song, explores an unnamed sentiment. Throughout the song, Little Blue sonically grows to represent a variety of feelings and concepts that are brought to life through personification. This climax is reinforced by the reluctant instrumentation and vocals. The most obvious interpretation may take it as a reminiscence of happy times with the partner who left: “Little Blue, reminds me of the love I had that left / Little Blue, it’s in you that these memories endure.”

The way she speaks directly to an abstract feeling, usually with a negative connotation, as if it were an understanding friend, is really a sin. When she sings “Don’t leave too soon / Please keep me close”, it may refer to the messy healing process in which we want to delay a clean cut by indulging in memories. However, Birdy is certainly not limited to this interpretation. Little Blue could just as well describe a kind of loneliness, melancholy, or coping mechanism that is comforting rather than overwhelming. Accordingly, the careful introduction of strings and background vocals later in the song serves to create a comforting mood. The open nature of Birdy’s poetic introspection really contributes to the narrative, as it allows its listeners to tap into the song for any range of feelings they may be trying to understand and work through.

The six-minute gem that is the title track, “Young Heart,” concludes the album’s journey of healing and harkens back to the first track, “Voyager.” The song is written as an apology, an explanation and a farewell to her former lover. Birdy conjures up a feeling all too familiar to listeners her age: “I’m still a young heart / There’s so much I don’t know / And I’m changing.” Unlike many of the more hesitant songs on the album, the vocals and instrumentation are delivered with confidence, giving the album and the journey an air of finality. Although it begins as a classic piano ballad of Birdy, it adds different musical elements to the song as it progresses, including an airy falsetto section that highlights Birdy’s dreamy vocals and a descending melody. theatrical. The lyrics “And it’s been on my mind for a while / I found a way never to let it show / But it was too hard” take listeners back to the start depicted in “Voyager”, where she also felt that the relationship would inevitably come to an end. This time, however, she clearly dismisses it as an unhealthy way to deal with the breakup: “And though I still need you now / Baby, I won’t hold you back.” She repeats the line “I’ll keep loving you” multiple times until the end of the song, showing us that even though she put the relationship behind her, her love and memories won’t fade.

“Young Heart” journeys through conflicting feelings about an inevitable departure toward finding solace in solitude and accepting the breakup. With introspective and vulnerable lyrics, Birdy successfully shows us what stays and what doesn’t when we move on.

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