Andrew Reviews Jade Bird’s “Jade Bird”

Andrew Reviews Jade Bird’s “Jade Bird”

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Jade Bird has been one of the most talked about artists on both sides of the pond over this past year. Now, she’s released her highly anticipated self-titled debut album, and it’s giving us serious fire and brimstone country vibes. Join Andrew from Brooklyn as he takes the reins and leads you through the “Jade Bird” album:

 

Jade Bird has loved and lost a life’s worth of times, all before the age of twenty-two. Influenced sonically by the American country rock canon and lyrically by her own history of heartbreak, Jade is the definition of a troubadour. From Croydon via South Wales and Monchengladbach, Germany, the five-foot, twenty-one year old with the voice of an Amazon warrior has had a wealth of experiences to draw from over her career--and life. And it’s these experiences which have all come to a head with the release self-titled debut album, Jade Bird.

Made up of equal parts new songs and live favorites that have been kicking around for a while, the album feels like the natural follow up to debut EP Something American, which established her Americana-inspired country rock sound. The record waxes and wanes from raging rock and roll to sweet, melancholic ballads, all tied together by Jade’s biggest draw: one of the most powerful and enthralling voices in the game.

 

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“I mean it when I say that I’m not sure who I am,” Jade belts in the chorus of her album opener “Ruins,” a dissection of a relationship that goes round and round, from good to bad and back again without rhyme or reason. It’s a lament that’s carried by her splendid vocal performance, which sets the tone for the rest of the record.

Romance is a recurring theme on the album, as Jade takes us through past relationships. These range from the rocky (“Ruins,” “17,” “My Motto”) to the solid, like in  “Lottery,” her debut single from last year that broke her onto the scene and put the name “Jade Bird” on the lips of all impresarios of the music industry. But unlike many artists who get the backing of the press behind them, Bird actually earns her keep. Just look at “Lottery,” with its witty lyrics, hooks, and the soaring sound of her voice--it’s a winning recipe that’s practically ubiquitous across all Jade’s songs.

 

Jade Bird - Lottery (Official Video)

 

Case in point: “I Get No Joy,” a syncopated smash hit with a meta music video that just oozes fun and singability--once you get the lyrics down. And trust me, you’ll want to. The same can be said for “Uh Huh,” a fierce, cheeky little bop that clocks in at only 2:22 but still packs plenty of punch in the time that it’s got, as Jade sings to an ex-lover about how his new woman has got him “whipped” as the kids say. It’s biting, it’s cathartic, and it’s so damn charming.

 

Jade Bird - I Get No Joy

 

Jade’s got a lot to say to her ex-flames on this record, particularly when it comes to their new ladies. On “Good At It,” she asks her man if his new woman is, quite simply, “good at it,” asking pointedly and painfully, “does she hold you so tight in the middle of the night you forget I was ever alive?” A poignant remark from someone who’s only freshly able to imbibe when touring the United States, but like I’ve said, Jade’s no rookie when it comes to relationships. In fact, she’s weary of them in the track “Love Has All Been Done Before,” a powerful plea to the love gods to give her something more than what we’ve got. It’s followed up immediately by “Going Gone,” another fierce rock and roll song with a serious rockabilly groove that Jade complements perfectly with her acoustic guitar and that gosh darn voice of hers. It would be the perfect background for a movie scene featuring a fight in a small town country bar--are you listening, Hollywood?

However, it’s Jade’s choice to end the record that’s perhaps the most interesting. Throwing aside her trademark six-string and country rock roots, Jade sits down at a piano to play the heartbreaking ballad “If I Die,” a song that acts as a posthumous plea to keep her memory alive via the medium she so loves: music. “If I die, put me in a song,” she sings. “Tell everyone how in love I’ve been.”

In all, Jade Bird is a splendid collection of singles that would be right at home in any barroom across America--not bad for a girl from England, I’ll tell you what.

Score: sipping sarsaparilla in a Stetson and pricking a voodoo doll of your ex.

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