Grace Gardner keeps up with Birdy’s latest single.

English Literature Student / Singer / Songwriter / Pianist
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Birdy is just about to release her third studio album, Beautiful Lies, and kicked off 2016 by releasing this stunning track. Birdy’s distinctive, velvety vocals provide a comfort to the general listener as it feels familiar and you feel as if you know exactly what to expect. However, this track offers something a bit different and leaves you desperately wanting to listen to the rest of the album in awe of what she’s going to do next. Despite sounding and feeling different to her last album, Fire Within, ‘Keeping Your Head Up’ makes sure to maintain all the authentic tropes of her music that us listeners expect from her personally as an artist.

The track begins with an intricate arpeggio which repeats itself over and over, gripping you from the very start. Teamed with weighty piano chords, this beginning to the track enriches her voice and really shows off her effortless range and her delicate use of vibrato. As we reach the chorus, there is a distinctive ascending chord progression which quickens the pace and moves the track along. If the opening of the track had somehow failed to make you listen, your attention would be well and truly caught now, as this climatic feeling is not something that we have seen Birdy make use of before. The use of layered vocals and three-part harmony give us as the listener the ghostly, operatic Birdy that we have seen many times before combined with a new deeper, richer tone to her voice. Throw in some drums and a good beat and this song is really setting the standard for the rest of the album. The start of the second verse reverts back to the repeated arpeggio, taking us back to the beginning and making us feel as if we know exactly what to expect from this ‘new’ version of Birdy. The bridge of this track features Birdy really demonstrating her impressive range as she hits the notes effortlessly. This particular part of the track itself sums up the fact that – yes – this album may be different in the fact that it demonstrates an enhanced version of the Birdy we all know and love but her echo-like vocals still remind us of that young girl sat at the piano with the stunning voice and it’s comforting to see that she still identifies as this within her role as an artist today.

'...from the standard set by this superior single, whatever she’s got in store for us, it’s going to be good...'

This song is generally comforting to listen to as it doesn’t describe a dramatic break-up or fall into the trap of being described as a conventional ‘love song’. Birdy keeps the language used within her lyrics general and not gendered, meaning that this song could essentially apply itself to any situation. From a listener’s perspective, this is something that Birdy should be applauded for, as she uses vague and at times, spiritual language to do the talking for her and without being overly specific, she does not detract from creating a meaningful piece. I am sure the majority of her listeners can appreciate how it feels to want to be there for someone else, ‘Hold tight, you’re slowly coming back to life / I’ll be keeping your head up’. This message is certainly something that resonates throughout the entire song, enhancing the sincere and feel-good tone.

This track is the perfect representation of an artist flourishing within the music industry. Birdy’s ghostly cover of ‘Skinny Love’ grasped our attention early on and from there, we’ve witnessed her grow into the artist she identifies as today. As featured on the album cover, we no longer see a young girl hiding behind a piano and stunning us with her vocals, instead we see a majestic-looking, confident woman standing in her place and doing herself justice. Just when we thought we’d seen it all from Birdy, she’s surprised us with a single track. Maybe we shouldn’t know what to expect with the rest of this album but from the standard set by this superior single, whatever she’s got in store for us, it’s going to be good.