Review: The future of rock is female
April 22, 2019
Jade Bird is, if anything, a rock star. With her raspy but powerful voice, her heavy use of guitar and strong “screw you” lyrics, Bird is sure to be one of the greats someday- but even the greats had to start somewhere. After years of only releasing singles and EPs, Bird released her debut album “Jade Bird” on April 19 and launched a sure-to-be-successful career.
“I Get No Joy” kicks off with drums, then Bird insistently singing over acoustic guitar. By speeding up and slowing down at key parts of the song, Bird conveys the anxiety that repeatedly sucks all of the joy out of her life. From an almost indecipherable, but certainly passionate, chorus, Bird transitions into a lighter bridge of “I know the sun will shine / Another day another time.” Bird consistently mixes anger with happiness in her music, and is one of the rare artists who is unashamed to portray raw, ugly emotions just as they are.
Bird isn’t all anger though, and “Side Effects” is a perfect example of her duality as an artist. “Side Effects” would fit in perfectly on the soundtrack of some perfectly aesthetic, indie coming-of-age movie, in a scene where the narrator realizes she’s in love on a beach. Bird uses soft guitar and an even softer voice to tell the story of someone who is desperately in love- and doesn’t know how to feel about it. The longing is palpable in her voice, and is enough to make me fall in love with the idea of love.
Bird’s powerhouse vocals are a key player in “Love Has All Been Done Before,” a song about how love always ends up doomed. Bird described this album as being composed of “screw you” songs in an interview to Nylon, and this track is certainly most representative of that. While she admits that her current man may be perfectly angelic to her, there’s nothing stopping this relationship from ending like all the others. Although her voice and guitar are cheeky in the verses, the chorus is composed of heavy guitar and defiant lyrics as she slowly gets angrier over the course of the song. The song eventually ends with the guitar and drums fading out, leaving Bird belting out “Love has all been done before.”
Songs about women putting their horrible boyfriends in their place are my favorite type of song, and Bird does it so well in “Going Gone.” This exact type of song exists in every genre, but Bird still manages to make hers stand out. She protests “I’m your girlfriend not your maid” to a needy boyfriend who can’t seem to live without her, but she recognizes her worth and drops him when he doesn’t get his act together. The acoustic guitar is bright and lively throughout, and Bird keeps the song short and sweet by ending it on a drawn-out high note announcing that he’s “Going / Going / Gone.”
Bird abandons her signature guitar and embraces the piano in “If I Die,” the last song of the album. She starts and ends the song the same, with the lyrics “If I die, put me in a song.” Bird allows herself to be vulnerable in this song, and the resulting melody is haunting.
“Jade Bird” depicts the ugly, the beautiful and the in-between in life; with her debut, Bird makes a place for herself in the world of rock, but still keeps her music fiercely independent.
Amelia Foster is a senior and the Print Managing Editor for RHSToday and Knight Writers. This is her fourth year on the staff, and her third as an editor....