Every Song has a Story to tell: Birdy – Wings

I thought of more frequently writing about songs just because… I like them. Even if there is no special meaning or so, just sharing the songs I love. But then, every song has a meaning, and in addition most songs I love have a very specific personal meaning to me. So both the real meaning and my own interpretation together resulted in the idea of creating a series of song portraits called "Every Song has a story to tell". Sometimes my own "meaning" will correspond with the real meaning of the song, sometimes it will be totally different.

I start off with Birdy. If you listen to a song over and over again for more than 5 hours while reading, then it must indicate this song is special.

And indeed the song is special, especially when knowing it was co-written and co-composed by Birdy herself, who is only 17 years of age at the time I am writing this. A 17 year old able to write such an emotional song, is a rare talent. It is almost unbelievable that someone of such young age could do that.

Birdy, who took her stage name from the fact her parents always called her like that as a baby due to the way she opened her mouth for eating, is a British singer-songwriter of Belgian and Dutch roots. She herself was born and raised in England but her real name, Jasmine van den Bogaerde, indicates Belgian and Dutch origins.

She was born in 1996 in England in a very musical family. Her mother was a concert pianist, and Birdy adopted the love for the piano, learning to play at age 7 and already writing own songs aged 8. The true story of Jasmine’s musical career started at age 12 however when she entered Open Mic UK in 2008, a talent contest for unsigned singers and bands. She entered with her own song "So be free" and won the first prize in both the under-18 category and the overall category.

Early 2011, aged 14, Birdy covered Bon Iver’s song "Skinny Love" which resulted in mass success in the charts, even reaching nr 1 in several countries. Later that year, Birdy released her debut album, the self-titled "Birdy" which contained only cover songs except for 1 track which was an original. It reached nr 1 in Belgium, The Netherlands and as far as Australia, where her singles also reached very high in the singles charts.

Now, aged 17, the follow-up "Fire within" is doing very fine as well. This album is a drastic turn away from the very acoustic piano-driven fragile debut album. While the piano still plays a very important role, some other instruments were added (Birdy even learnt to play the guitar for this album) which leaves some songs with a more bombastic impression, as if the sound gradually becomes stronger and reaches its peak when the other instruments come in. But equally important: instead of the covers she did when she released her first record, this time Birdy co-wrote all songs on the album, a rare fact for someone of such tender age. It just gets more remarkable when hearing the songs and realise how beautiful it sounds.

The first single from the album, "Wings", was a true revelation to me. I was instantly grabbed by the piano driven stanzas and Birdy’s fragile yet beautiful voice, then to have an almost celebrating more up-tempo chorus in which the other instruments come into play. The sound of the song is warm, the lyrics heartwarming and beautiful. The song immediately grasped me and I could not stop listening to it. Even including one day where I played it 30 or 40 times in a row. This was the type of song justifying buying the CD for (luckily there are more gems on her album)

"Wings" describes remembering past events ranging from dancing on top of cars or waking up with the sunlight coming in, just because she thought of the person she was with.

The video also demonstrates this: a big nocturnal mansion party is shown where people dressed in weird costumes walk around, people have fun, Birdy is shown on a swing while glowing lights now and then illuminate the nightly sky. Birdy stated it is about having a great time with friends, the kind of time that you know you’ll never ever forget it.

To me the song has a more romantic edge. I do not see a wild mansion party in front of me with lots of people dancing, I see a couple in front of me that are alone at night somewhere in the fields, under a star-filled sky, dancing to this beautifully romantic music. When Birdy sings about how thinking of "you" reminds her or all those things that occured, it sounds to me as two lovers looking back on how their life together has been so far.

However, when we take things to the chorus, this is where it truly gets emotional to me. The song just reflects in an eeriely perfect way my idea of the ideal romantic night with my future lover. How can someone not feel butterflies in the stomach and get a warm feeling inside, dreaming about that one true love, when listening to lines such as

"Lights go down
In the moment we’re lost and found
I just wanna be by your side
If these wings could fly…"

The chorus completes with the other person telling her he’ll remember that night forever.

This is how I picture the perfect romantic night, the type of night where all good things suddenly come together, you’re alone with your lover and the rest of the world feels like it doesn’t even exist. All that matters would be me and her. A simple line like "we’re lost and found… I just wanna be by your side" reflects the equally simple yet very powerful feeling of just wanting to be with that person you love, and feel a waterfall of happiness and joy simply by being with her. As if the rest of the world doesn’t matter, doesn’t even exist, and you simply dance in the field at night, fall in each others’ arms, and feel an emotion of total happiness. With nobody to be around to disrupt this moment. It’s just two lovers, so happy they are together, just the two of them in a night when all nice things just happen to come together.

That warm feeling of love is almost illuminating the sky, which is the idea I get when seeing the lights lightning up the dark skies in the video. As if the mutual love literally illuminates the dark skies, as if the love warms the air in the midst of the night. That is the feeling I get when listening to that chorus while watching the video of the song.

To me it is simply a representation of the feeling of total happiness by just being together, and knowing you will never forget that night and never forget that blissful feeling; while having the desire to make that relationship last a lifetime.

Love songs are often cliche, and in a way this song in its true interpretation is about friendship more than it is about love. But I hope Birdy will forgive me for giving the song a bit of an own angle.

This is the perfect song to play on the background while holding each other in each others’ arms and sharing a tender kiss. This song is the ideal soundtrack when you first kiss your (new) partner — as far as such thing can be planned. It would even make a perfect opening dance for those who would choose to get married.

Fantastic efford, and her young age only makes it more remarkable. Now Birdy isn’t all about happy love or friendship, just give "All you never say" a listen, which is about the other person never saying the few words she is hoping to hear (that he loves her). But meanwhile Birdy perfectly reflects the simple desire and hope to be with someone: "Words with no meaning have kept me dreaming" while not losing sight of reality as the words in the end tell her nothing about where she stands.

I wish to heavily recommend this exceptional talent. If you can create such songs when you’re just 17, then you just know you discovered a very rare musical talent that puts 80 to 90% of the folks in the charts to shame. Forget the charts, and surrender to the beautiful music of Birdy!

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About thepathslesstravelled

An Aspie who has had a lifelong fascination with travelling, discovering new cultures and discovering new ways of life, and with a strange attraction to the less known and often forgotten places in the world. And very obsessed with sports and music.
This entry was posted in Artists, Music, Songs and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Every Song has a Story to tell: Birdy – Wings

  1. puppynumber7 says:

    Birdy’s song Wings has become my favourite of all time – a place Jim Steinman’s Rock & Roll Dreams Come Through held for over 30 years!

  2. jeremy says:

    Wow this is a very nice interpretation!!! Im definitely going to keep listening to birdy after hearing what you said. Indeed.she is incredible.

  3. Pablo says:

    Funny how I found you.

    I found this song only some days ago, and was fascinated by it – I could not stop listening to it. Saw the video and noticed that the singer looks very young and did as usual, check the bio on Wikipedia, I could not believe she is 17 years old, such a young artist putting in words and music such deep feelings. I listed to the song over and over and wrote my personal interpretation of the songs meaning website. I then found this website with this comment about the song, quite similar to what I just wrote.

    I had a look at the website and the ‘about’ section. Love the combination of sport and music. I love tennis and the same as you, I enjoy watching top players and the numbers 300, I am sometimes a bit bored of the top ten and look for other players, other technique, personalities, styles, or just different people.

    Enjoy the focus on the lyrics and the music, I spend some time looking for other version of the songs, let’s say, less commercial. Of course I have hits, however I need something different from he main stream, well, quite a lot.

    Interesting how different personalities may be in the ”wrong” place πŸ™‚ I was born in Argentina, were football (soccer for you) is everything, and guess what, I don’t like it, never did. And believe me, there is a lot of pressure for people to like it and everything is around it, and everybody knows about the teams, the players, etc, first, second and third leave. Losing a match is a national tragedy. The good thing is that I never really care what people think, even though I missed out conversations and social interaction. I just was the kid that liked different things.

    That was probably one of the reasons that lead me to learn new things, a new language for example and explore. I currently live in Australia with my wife and kids.

    Well, just wanted to stop to say hello and for sure I’ll follow you in the future.

    P

    • Hello,

      Thanks for your post! I am a big soccer fan, although football in Argentina can get a bit hectic and chaotic inside the stadiums. Not for a calm guy like me who prefers to sit down and just enjoy the game. But I do like football and the Argentina national team. I know the Pope Francis I’s favourite team in his home country won the Argentinian championship last time.

      As for Birdy: she is amazing and live she sings as crystal clear as on record. I saw her three days ago in Brussels in the Cirque Royal/Koninklijk Circus. Was at 4th row from stage so very close to her πŸ™‚ You hardly notice the difference between live and on record, that’s how good she is. Pity to be single in the crowd while the song “Wings” plays, too romantic to listen to as a single man… I don’t think I’ll ever marry, but anyway: this song is the perfect opening dance at a wedding! You’d be amazed how shy Birdy is when she talks, very calm and rather silent voice. But when she starts to sing … then her vocal reach is really fantastic.

      • Mima Meriem says:

        I am a huge fan of Birdy and of all her songs, no exceptions, there are no enough words or expressions to say how amazing, special, unique and extraordinary she is. I very much admire the way you like her and her music, and the strength of your sensation. Don’t worry true love exists and it will find you.

  4. M says:

    I totally agree with your interpretation of the song “Wings”. Totally two lovers who are next to each other passionately kissing each other and expressing their love to each other. It is as if no matter what the world is going on around them, the two are only in their world, as if the other things not exist and the world stop, just two of them, having very strong emotional connection with each other and expressing their love to each other. A very powerful, beautiful and romantic song! πŸ™‚

  5. Margareth says:

    It’s a beautiful song, I love it! I feel some sort of longing to the old days (mine that is πŸ˜‰ ), back in the early 90’s.

    Great review, thanks for sharing your view on the lyrics/song!
    In the beginning you mentioned it’s almost unbelievable a 17-year-old co-wrote/produced.
    Since I’m a big fan of Mozart, you can imagine I disagree about the unbelievable part πŸ˜‰ (he was 4 when he started writing miracles)

  6. Diana Baltrusaityte says:

    and I am listening to it now…and found this πŸ™‚ this song gives an emotional mix of sadness and happiness at the same time.

  7. silvya greene says:

    This song reminds me of my best friend somehow. Those days when we were younger we told each other that we’re gonna be together and did things we really want together and congquer the world and stuff. Then she went to boarding school and we’re 18 n ive never heard from her. But i wish she’s doing fine. I miss her.

  8. Nick says:

    I don’t agree with your representation of the song. I don’t think this is a happy song at all. I think it’s filled with hurt and anguish. The minor chord progression really supports my theory, and I’m sure anyone who listens to it will agree that it just sounds sad.

    My theory bases from the first verse.

    Sunlight comes creeping in
    Illuminates our skin
    We watch the day go by
    Stories of all we did
    It made me think of you
    It made me think of you.

    Saying ‘it made me think of you’, twice, highlights it’s importance and outlines the destination of the verse. This person is old now, perhaps settled as by the ‘We’ in the 3rd line, but the stories that are being told make her/him think back to someone. The person the song is calling out to is someone deep in the past. Not someone currently in the present. You wouldn’t be thinking about someone if you were sharing stories with them. But whatever is happening is reminding the writer of someone else in my opinion.

    From then on the drums kick in. The introduction of drums makes me feel as if the rest of the song is a flash back, as if we’re diving into the memories they remember.

    So I think this song is about someone they deeply miss. The rest of the song, in my opinion is filled with sorrow and regret. The chords, the delivery of the track. Someone they found to be really special. Perhaps it couldn’t work out for reasons beyond their control and all they are now is a distant memory. Or Perhaps the person the song is written about is now dead and the people referred to as ‘we’ in the 1st verse are their kids. I don’t know. But I think the person is reminiscing about old times with someone incredibly special to them, someone that no one would compare to and whom they deeply ,miss and the time they spent together.

    The 2nd verse speaks of her being in a foreign state, and not being able to speak just because of the thought of them. You could interpret this in a happy-go-lucky manor but with how the song is delivered, I think that it’s her that her grief that is driving her crazy. A lifetime of hurt, captured in one 4 minute song…

    .I don’t think this is a happy song at all,

  9. I don’t agree with your representation of the song. I don’t think this is a happy song at all. I think it’s filled with hurt and anguish. The minor chord progression really supports my theory, and I’m sure anyone who listens to it will agree that it just sounds sad.

    My theory bases from the first verse.

    Sunlight comes creeping in
    Illuminates our skin
    We watch the day go by
    Stories of all we did
    It made me think of you
    It made me think of you

    Saying ‘it made me think of you’, twice, highlights it’s importance and outlines the destination of the verse. So they’re thinking about someone. In my opinion, the writer is old now, perhaps settled as by the ‘We’ in the 3rd line, but the stories that are being told make her/him think about someone. The person the song is calling out to I think is someone deep in the past. Not someone currently in the present. You wouldn’t be thinking about someone if you were actively sharing stories with them. But whatever is happening is reminding the writer of someone else, in my opinion.

    From then on the drums kick in. The introduction of drums makes me feel as if the rest of the song is a flash back, as if we’re diving into the past and into the memories they remember.

    So I think this song is about someone they deeply miss. The rest of the song, in my opinion is filled with sorrow and regret. The chords, the delivery of the track. Someone, we can tell by the lyrics, that they found to be really special. Perhaps it couldn’t work out for reasons beyond their control and all they are now is a painful memory. Or perhaps the person the song is written about is now dead and the people referred to as ‘we’ in the 1st verse telling stories are their kids. I don’t know. But I think the person is reminiscing about old times with someone incredibly special to them, someone that no one has compared to and whom they deeply miss and the time they spent together.

    The 2nd verse speaks of her being in a foreign state, and not being able to speak just because of the thought of them. You could interpret this in a happy-go-lucky manor but with how the song is delivered, I think that it’s her grief that is driving her crazy. A lifetime of pain caused by missing someone, captured in one 4 minute song…

    I don’t think this is a happy song at all…

    • Lynn says:

      It thought the same as soon as I listened to the words it brought back memories of my dad and that the wall was blocking my way to heaven and if only these wings could fly I’d be able to get to him.

    • Mima says:

      I agree with you too it’s a song about bittersweet memories of someone who no longer exist in the writer’s life though s/he wishes things wasn’t like this coz the intended person seems so special and irreplaceable and that there was a very extraordinary connection between them. Listening to it gives me happy yet very sad feelings

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