Jade Bird “Candidate”

Jade Bird releases a live studio performance of ‘Candidate‘, another track from her most recent album, ‘Different Kinds of Light‘.

Growing up in London and Bridgend in South Wales, Jade Bird’s 2019 eponymous debut album was infused as much with folk-rock and Americana influences as pop-rock. The album received widespread critical acclaim and saw her touring around the world and sharing the stage with some of the biggest names in Americana. As such, it wasn’t exactly a surprise to hear that her new album was to be produced by one of the biggest producers in the Americana world, Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell). However, early in their working relationship Bird discovered Cobb shared her love of classic Britpop and that helped steer the album in a heavier direction. ‘Candidate’ is the song on the album that seems to capture that flavour best.

While the pop hooks are still definitely there, so too is a more alt.rock sound. The grungier guitars and drums, and a greater intensity to the vocal delivery, are very much in keeping with the slightly more world-weary lyrics – hardly a surprise for someone still in their early twenties who is already travelling the globe as an up-and-coming international star. In the song Bird ruefully muses on how she’s been treated by some of the dubious men she’s allowed into her life. “I swear I got a sign written on my head // Don’t use the stairs, go ahead, walk on me instead // Every man takes me for a fool // It’s like I’m screaming from the top of lungs, “Hey you!” // If you want somebody to judge, if you want somebody to blame // If you want somebody to hate, I’m a great candidate.

Filmed live in a London studio for the VEVO music video network, the performance has a nice retro 90s feel – very Britpop, very classic 90s alt.rock. From the outset, Bird lays into her classic Gibson Melody Maker guitar with gleeful fury as the rest of the band bounce around the stage with equal enthusiasm. She is blessed with a remarkable voice that can evocatively deliver the sweetest pop melody but, in an instant, she can switch it up to a storming rock roar that never feels like she’s having to try too hard. For all the pop-rock and Americana tags justifiably attached to her early releases, Jade Bird demonstrates here that she also knows how to straight-out rock.

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