Presenting Icona Pop & Birdy
SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - January 31, 2014 - 12:00am

What a great week for sounds. It started with the spectacular Grammy Awards and then continued on to more exciting sounds. And surprise, surprise, these are from new albums by artists I am listening to for the first time. These new discoveries are young and talent- ed, and they make music that I am sure everybody will enjoy.

Is the world ready for a new ABBA? Well not really ABBA, because we do not know yet if they would one day attain the same iconic status. Still, it is impossible not to compare Icona Pop to ABBA because the group is also from Sweden and has a kind of up- beat, sparkling pop sound that is un- mistakably Scandinavian. You know how it goes, ABBA, Roxette, A-ha, Ace of Base, Robyn, etc.

Icona Pop is made up of two tal- ented and very stylish girls, Caroline Hjelt and Alno Jawo. Their first single I Love It was last year’s surprise hit of the summer. They met while music students in Stockholm and decided to write songs and record together. Things have gone very well since with the hit first album This Is Icona Pop and the massive single I Love It.

Lilting and utterly infectious, I Love It has been used in several commercials all over Europe and the US. It has been featured in high-rating TV shows like Glee, The Vampire Diaries and Girls. It has also paved the way for supporting gigs in the touring shows of Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry. Proof that their following outside Sweden has indeed grown is the fact that they were named Choice Music Breakout Group at the Teen Choice Awards last year.

This Is Icona Pop is now available locally and I Love It has caught the fancy of Pinoy kids who can now be heard singing along or bobbing their heads to the beat of the song. They can do so throughout the entire set. Made up of original compositions by Caroline and Aino, the album has a happy vibe that reminds me of the Everly Brothers and the Beach Boys from the ’60s but with a modern cos- mopolitan flair. Then We Kiss sounds like it will make a great follow-up single. All Night is another one.

All in all, This is Icona Pop is filled with youthful, energetic tunes that get these girIs off to an excellent start. With more music like this in the fu- ture, Scandinavian pop will be back in the charts of the world again.

Also included are We Got The World, Ready For The Weekend, Girlfriend, In The Stars, On A Roll, Just Another Night, Hold On and Light Me Up.

Found more great girl sounds in Fire Within by Birdy. Born Jasmine van den Bogaerde,

and nicknamed Birdy, she is only 17 years old and sings and writes her own music. She was discovered when she won the grand prize in the UK’s prestigious talent show Open Mic UK. She next released a single, her take on Bon Iver’s Skinny Love and followed it up with an album of more covers. Both charted high in the UK and other countries. Now Birdy had been writ- ing songs since she was eight years old. So when it became time for her

to do her second album, it was a no- brainer that it would be made with her originals.

Birdy is an excel- lent songwriter. She creates piano based pop that sounds perky but has a lot of depth in the lyrics. I think of Taylor Swift but more seri- ous and without the flirty vibe. Hollywood is one of the first to catch on to her work. She wrote and sung Just A Game for the Hunger Games soundtrack and got a Grammy nomination for Learn Me Right, that she did with Mumford & Sons for the animated movie Brave.

Fire Within, Birdy’s sec- ond album, is one radio single after another. You listen and you get this urge to find out if she will hold up with another great song in the next cut and the next and the next. And how nice to find out that she does. My top faves are Heart Of Gold and Standing In The Way of Light, which seem to have been specially made for Pinoy radio. Another potential biggie is Light Me Up. The first single released is Wings and there are also Words As Weapons; All You Never Say; Strange Birds; Maybe; No Angel; All About You and Shine.

Take note, Birdy is also very pretty and the famous English actor Dirk Bogarde was her great uncle. So, an acting career could also be a possibility for this talented girl.

ACE OF BASE ALL ABOUT YOU AND SHINE ALL NIGHT ALL YOU NEVER SAY BON IVER BORN JASMINE FIRE WITHIN I LOVE IT ICONA POP POP THIS IS ICONA POP
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