Live In London
Jasmine van den Bogaerde (a.k.a. Birdy) was only 15 when her eponymous album was released in 2011. Nearly a year later, the London singer recorded an album rich with live versions of songs from that debut. She opens with a tense and beautiful rendition of The xx’s “Shelter,” this version even sparser in its pacing. With the simple accompaniment of a piano, Birdy finds more power in exercising vocal restraint than succumbing to larynx gymnastics. This method proves even more arresting in her cover of Ed Sheeran's "The A Team," where a close listen reveals grit in the texture of her voice and a natural tremolo in her androgynous tenor. Of course, a Phoenix cover wouldn’t be proper without vintage-sounding synthesizers to accompany her piano playing; she also adds a rhythm section, electric guitar, bass, string accompaniment, and backing vocal harmonies to her swooning, panoramic take on “1901.” It should come as no surprise that Birdy’s original tune “Just a Game” is the album’s salient standout—she’s been writing songs since age seven.