Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Similarly Requested CDs
Jazzy V. | 11/28/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When you're born with the ability to sing like Katie Melua, they could set a shopping list in front of you and you'll break people's hearts singing it.
Katie has a timeless voice and on her latest album she has chosen a set of blues-based songs that set it off perfectly.
Huge natural talent was always going to secure Katie Melua's future, the excellence of "Piece By Piece" will simply reinforce her arrival as major force.
Nonetheless, this offering does not surpass in beauty and success her debut album (which became Britain's biggest seller and has so far attracted three million copies world-wide).
The album does occasionally reach out to a potentially wider fanbase thanks to its ability to draw on a number of influences and remain fascinatingly diverse.
There are some self-penned tracks as well as some covers but, for the most part, it's an accomplished affair that feels as though Melua has taken her time over it.
It's also distinctly blues-based, occasionally feeling ponderous depending on the mood it catches you in at the time.
Highlights include the single, "Nine Million Bicycles", which is genuinely sweet. The track was inspired by Melua's own visit to China and some of the things she heard on the trip, thereby equating the fact that there are nine million bicycles in Beijing with the certainty she is in love.
The meandering blasts of flute that weave their way throughout lend the song a Chinese feel and make it quite enticing.
Further evidence of the album's diverse instrumention is evident on the upbeat and melodic "Thank You, Stars", which provides more heartfelt lyrics and a really nice blend of strings and mandolin.
While the kooky "Halfway Up The Hindu Kush" is another that demonstrates Melua's vocals at their most happy go lucky - it's no coincidence that all three tracks were written by the conductor, Mike Batt.
Elsewhere, Katie demonstrates a more melancholy and mature style on self-penned tracks such as "Piece By Piece" and "I Cried For You" - although such moodswings can sometimes catch you off-guard if you're not in the right mood for them.
More straightforward blues fare comes in the form of "Blues In The Night" and "Blue Shoes", both of which find Melua at her moodiest, while a slightly more rousing cover version of "On The Road Again" feels like the sound of an artists having fun with one of her favourite tunes.
It lacks the edge of the original but should still delight fans, while bringing the album out of one of its brooding passages.
Another cover version drew a more mixed response from both these listeners, however. The artist has re-recorded The Cure's seminal "Just Like Heaven" for the soundtrack of the movie of the same name.
The hardcore Cure fan among us may find it risible and sickly sweet, while the Melua fan enjoy the acoustic guitar and female makeover given to Robert Smith's classic.
That said, given that we represent both a Melua fan and sceptic it's satisfying to be able to report that "Piece By Piece" does achieve what Melua set out to - that is to say, fans will get what they're seeking, while the album does indeed appeal in small doses to those who may not have been touched by the artist's work so far.