Jade Bird

Jade Bird

Glassnote

Apr 24, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Jade Bird sings like a good ol' fashion Southern girl coming from a grand tradition of Brits who put their spin on great American roots and country, then volley it back across the pond, elevating the game. In another era "Ruins," the perfect opener for her much-anticipated eponymous debut, could have been a Dolly Parton hit. She expertly conveys that haze of young love through the lens of a world-wizened millennial, singing sweet and salty: "One minute I love you/And the next its all in ruins."

On "Lottery" she employs another country motif recounting an older lover who bets on her. The tune begins with lolling acoustic strums then explodes into an angrier chorus with the weight of a full band behind heryou get a hint she doesn't like being anyone's gamble.

The 20-year-old ingénue is not all country, she's rock 'n' roll too. Benefitting from the likes of Courtney Barnett's mold-breaking indie sensibilities, "I Get No Joy" is rollicking good, with jangly rhythms and quick fire barbs about the state of existential despair that we're all prone to. When she implores "what do you need?' she manages to sound like the version of Bob Dylan that gives us most comfort.

But "Uh Huh" is the piece de resistance here. Short and fiery, she makes pointed observations about infidelity and how karma can be a bitch. Like a freight-train bearing down, she list the litany of things her ex's new girl is doing wrong in plain sight, then lands on an explosive chorus which slows to "She asks you if you love her/and you nod and say"the coy yet knowing "Uh uh."

In an age when it's rare that anyone can step into a studio without an army of writing staff it's admirable that Bird was adamant she would pen all her own songs. Each highlights a different shade; and stretches her reach. There's quiet strumming on "Does Anybody Know," rousing handclaps and piano outro on "Good At It" (another sting to an ex's new fiancé), and "17" (a piano and strings-accompanied ballad with a likeable R&B vibe). You can imagine "If I Die" as an EDM bangerglimpses of where she could go, without going too far off tangent.

Unsurprisingly, she would be remiss to play the one-dimensional woman scorned, "If it hurts so much to stay/Then let him go/That's my motto," she states it plainly on "My Motto." Similarly in "Going Gone" she sings, "He's going, going, gone." Tired country tropes she updates or like the no good men, she leaves in the dust. There's no doubt Bird is the complete package: Deft songwriting, outstanding vocals that glide effortlessly between honey and hessian, plus oodles of attitude to boot. (www.jade-bird.com)

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