In the cover art for her new single, “Uh Huh,” Jade Bird stares away from the camera and into the distance, her face spreading into a neon blur of color. It’s attention-catching and vibrant, but the cover is nothing compared to the song itself.
“Uh Huh” affords new depth to the word scathing. Like her other songs “Furious” and “Good Woman,” it’s an anti-love-letter to an unfaithful ex, holding him accountable for cheating on her. But of Bird’s cheating-focused songs, “Uh Huh” is the angriest one yet. The chorus finds her screaming her way through lines like, “She’s got you on your knees like a little boy / Everybody sees that you’re just a little toy,” channeling the same powerful energy she showed the world in “Lottery.”
That’s the thing about Jade Bird: She’s powerful. At the age of twenty, the British singer-songwriter has only been releasing music for the last couple of years, but all it takes is one song to rake in your attention and refuse to let it go. The power is in her voice, which is raw and wieldy, equally suited for gentle crooning (see the aforementioned “Furious” and “What Am I Here For”) as for launching full-force into rockstar-level tirades. It’s in her guitar playing, which careens between soft folk and slamming rock as often and as convincingly as she does.
But more than anything else, the power is in Bird herself. Often dressed in simple sweaters and dungarees, she is charming and genuine, and each new release shows off a new edge of her seemingly boundless talent. Her lyrics and musicality consistently evoke a level of genuine emotional connection and authenticity that many musicians aspire to reach at the peaks of their careers.
One of her most remarkable previous songs to date, “Good Woman,” shares a lot of parallels with “Uh Huh.” It’s also addressed to the disloyal ex, and it also benefits from quick, playful verses and a forceful, accusatory chorus. But “Good Woman” balances Bird’s rage and disbelief with her own core identity as the titular good woman (“Good woman, I’m a good, good woman / But you still want more, yeah, you still want more”). “Uh Huh” is all acid; full-fledged anger eclipses disbelief, arriving in a two-minute-long vehicle of false sweetness and magnetic, leveled obloquy.
Bird demands answers, ridiculing both the ex and his mistress alike. Her vitriol culminates in the repeated line, “She asks you if you love her, and you nod and say, ‘Uh huh’.” Everything about the song, from the line about how the mistress “talks about the guys at work so you feel egocentral” to the simple tilt of the syllables, “Uh huh,” is fueled with power and feeling. The thing about Jade Bird is that she takes charge of every emotion she feels, harnessing it into a vehicle for empowerment and self-expression. She makes you want to feel them with her: the love, the despair and, in songs like “Uh Huh,” the spite. She is one of the most captivating new artists out there, so here’s hoping she keeps trusting us to share these with her for many more releases to come.