Sunday, February 07, 2021

BIRDY – ‘Surrender’ Single Review

After taking a five-year hiatus from making music, Birdy has returned with a new single ‘Surrender’, which marks a considerable shift in tone from her previous 2015 album ‘Beautiful Lies’. 

Five years might seem like a long break, but Birdy hasn’t been idle in her time off, instead taking the opportunity to experience the world and learn more about herself. The young singer was first discovered when she was just 12 years old and has since gone on to achieve 21 platinum singles and number 1 albums all around the world, so a pause from her busy music career probably felt long overdue.

The personal growth she experienced in her period of self-discovery is reflected in her new track ‘Surrender’, where the theatricality and wonderment of songs like ‘Keeping Your Head Up’ from her previous album are replaced by quiet acceptance and an unfiltered view of the artist in pain.

‘Surrender’ is the first song to be released from the Grammy-nominated artist’s highly anticipated fourth studio album ‘Young Heart’, out 30th April via Atlantic Records. 

During her time of self-reflection, it is unsurprising that Birdy visited Nashville, which is home to some of the greatest songs about heartache. Much like the staple Tennessee ballads that came before it, ‘Surrender’ is a simple song that feels deeply personal. 

The new track is sure to fill the listener with melancholy, as it concerns a subject that is familiar to all of us: the pain of knowing you have to let someone go, but missing them all the same. The lyrics perfectly encapsulate this emotional push and pull, especially in the last lines of the chorus: “Sometimes I try so hard to fight, when all I want to do is fall into the night, into your arms’ surrender.” 

The artist has accomplished a blending of genres, maintaining the young fragility that she is so known for, but also giving way to a more mature sound that is emerging. ‘Surrender’ is a track that fuses Birdy’s signature folk style with the heartbreak of country music and - with lyrics like “Delays on the District Line” - one can surmise that the song takes place in a London setting.

Birdy’s ethereal vocals are also more impressive than ever, delivered with such delicate precision that the verses of ‘Surrender’ are slightly reminiscent of Eva Cassidy’s rendition of ‘Kathy’s Song’ by Simon & Garfunkel. The young singer/songwriter was perhaps also inspired by her travels to Los Angeles, as she often seems to channel the likes of legends such as Joni Mitchell in her singing. 

In contrast to the songs on ‘Beautiful Lies’, ‘Surrender’ is much more stripped back to the essentials to make way for such an incredible voice. The track features a simple piano arrangement with soft percussion, a barely-audible guitar part and some ghostly backing vocals to round out the texture. 

The music video, directed by Grammy award-winning director Sophie Mueller, perfectly captures this filterless feeling, featuring the singer bare-faced and in simple white clothing, taking wintery seaside walks or sitting, huddled in an empty room.

Birdy has always been an old soul in a young woman’s body, and with an upcoming album that promises darker, more introspective musings from the artist, fans and casual listeners alike should be excited to see what else the singer has in store.

Hannah McGreevy


Image: Screenshot from Official Music Video

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