It’s an average pre-work Sunday morning. My Mum, for God knows what reason, has already decided to start ironing and the household cat, despite my consistent offerings of affection, still hates me. The first thing my Sunday self actually hears is the theme song to ‘Frazier’, insinuating the end of yet another repeated episode.

After routinely switching on ‘Sunday Brunch’ and forcing my eyes to endure a 15-minute onslaught of Howard Webb’s ridiculously bald… sorry I mean Simon Rimmer’s, ridiculously bald head, the dreaded ad break came – an ad break that would be more dreadful than usual however, for one reason. ‘Birdy, the voice that brought you Skinny Love, back with her new album’ went the voice over lady as a snippet of Birdy’s rendition of Bon Ivers ‘Skinny Love’ opens her new albums advertisement. Now a lot of you are likely thinking, ‘who the hell is Birdy anyway?’ and to be honest you’d be right to think that – a prime reason I believe that her promotional team decided to open the advert for her brand new album, featuring brand new material, with a segment of a cover she did over two years ago. The reason? Simply because it is the only thing anyone really knows her for…unless you are some die-hard fan.

When Arctic Monkeys however recently released a TV advert for their new album AM, it didn’t open with an overpaid voice over lady saying, ‘Arctic Monkeys, the band that brought you I Bet That You Look Good On The Dance Floor’, and why would it? No artist or band whatsoever should draw on hit songs they have had in the past, (or in Birdy’s case, one hit cover version) to promote a new album that features new songs. Why don’t you just focus on promoting the new songs that make up that new album of yours Birdy? Or do you think they just aren’t good enough? Sadly though this isn’t the worst of it and it’s not even the main reason I want to say goodbye to my family and then go jump off a cliff. It’s the shear fact they acted like it was her own song with no recognition for Bon Iver’s original masterpiece – quite harsh treatment I think from someone who wouldn’t even be releasing a second album to millions of people if it wasn’t for the band in the first place.

They also continue to constantly play on this because they know there are still millions of stupid 14 year olds out there who actually think that she is the writing genius behind the track - and if they can so easily pull the wool over those peoples eyes to sell records, then why wouldn’t they?
Now even though all I have done so far is completely slate Birdy, sometimes I do have moments where I feel sorry for her, because even she must lay awake every night tormented by the fact that she is a no one without that cover.

Birdy - will her new album of original's make us forget THAT cover? Doubtful.
She isn’t the only one however to entirely copy the recipe of overused ingredients that you could say makes up every single cover version that features on the John Lewis Christmas adverts. I know Birdy’s cover was never on one of those adverts, but it just seems nowadays all you need, to have to a hit with a cover, is one delicate female voice that occasional cracks (in the ‘good way’ of course), one piano and one over the top string section that kicks in during the climax of the last chorus. A climax made so dramatic, it makes the ending of the Eastenders Christmas episode where that ginger nerd jumps to his death off of the Queen Vic, look shamefully pathetic in comparison.  

These three things are prominent in nearly every cover version featured on the adverts. For example, Ellie Golding’s version of Your Song – a version that once again most people initially thought was in fact ‘Her Song’, and most notably Gabrielle Aplins rendition of Power Of Love – another one who definitely wouldn’t be where she is today if is wasn’t for the ‘Power of’ that cover. I am not denying that a few of these covers aren’t good, and they do pull on the heartstrings more than I would like to admit, but I just feel they only cover them to boost their own career with the hope that more people will be directed to their terrible original material.

Now then, by this point you may be looking for almost any reason to plummet head first off a diving board into a pool of flesh thirsty piranhas - if you are, I may have just found the reason that will finally send you over the edge – yes, I am about to pick on Birdy again.

Right, so just when you are about to bottle it, and go running back to your ever so loving family after convincing yourself that the modern world of music isn’t THAT bad - whip out your smartphone (I gather you have one).  Now, quickly close all your Internet porn tabs before any one sees and go straight to Youtube. Brace yourself, here comes the hard bit. After you type in ‘Skinny Love’ into the search bar, you will unfortunately be greeted with (before you even finish typing) the first suggestion of ‘Birdy – Skinny Love’ not ‘Bon Iver – Skinny Love’. Sad isn’t it? It’s even worse that the female singer-songwriters version has over 48 million Youtube hits and Bon Ivers has a mere 9 million. Oh the wonders of a great marketing team aye?

Now if that alone isn’t a reason to give you the confidence to actually make that jump, I don’t know what is.

George Henry King