British vocalist Birdy was 15 when she released her debut album in 2011. Her youth and lovely, robust voice let her celebrate music by other artists (Fleet Foxes, The xx, The National, etc.) without incurring the snark of a fickle press. She followed this up with a GRAMMY® nomination in 2012 for her song ”Learn Me Right” for the film Brave. On her second album, Fire Within, Birdy writes the songs, partnering with a reliable stable of proven hitmakers (including writers for Mumford & Sons, Adele, Arctic Monkeys). The songs aren't just muscular and solid enough to play as radio-ready, sing-along anthems (“Wings,” “Light Me Up”); there’s a sinewy strength to her bravado even on gut-wrenching confidentials. Whether she’s processing deceit and pain accompanied only by pastoral piano and strings (“No Angel”) or pouring her emotions and airy trill into a soaring plea to be let in (“Strange Birds”), the strength underlying Birdy's deceptive girlishness gives the collection real staying power. The admirable swagger in the accusatory “Words as Weapons” is contagious, and her cover of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” isn't just brave but absolutely compelling.