Covering one of Bon Iver’s songs can pose a challenge to even the most talented and professionally trained singers, but Birdy (Jasmine van den Bogaerde) stunned many fans with her rendition of the captivating song “Skinny Love.” Bon Iver’s original is wrought with emotion and discusses the regret and struggle of a broken relationship.While Birdy’s cover loses some of the original’s depth and meaning, her voice does make the song more delicate and innocent; she seems to be singing out of curiosity for a love she has yet to experience.
“Skinny Love” was originally released as a single from Bon Iver’s 2007 debut album For Emma, Forever Ago. Only Justin Vernon, who wrote the song, will ever truly know its meaning, but there are many speculations. Some fans think the song focuses on how the past haunts the future. “In the morning I’ll be with you/But it will be a different “kind”/I’ll be holding all the tickets/And you’ll be owning all the fines.” The narrator seems to feel incapable of moving forward after suffering some injustice served by his lover.
Another interpretation includes the title of the song itself. The lovers share a love that’s shrinking and is on the verge of dying. “Come on, skinny love, just last the year/Pour a little salt you were never here.” They are trying to work through the tough times, but the love is withering away.
The meaning of the lyrics gets lost in Birdy’s cover. “Staring at the sink of blood and crushed veneer,” indicates a violence that seems inappropriate for a 15-year-old to sing. This is not to say her cover is bad; anyone can hear the intensity of her voice and the skill with which the song is performed. Birdy’s intensive vocal training is evident, making this a beautiful rendition from a talented and aspiring young artist. She may not have hit it right with “Skinny Love,” but she has proven her talent and potential to grow as an artist with her bravery at covering complex songs. It won’t be long before everyone in the U.S. knows her name.