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Secret Symphony

Katie Melua: Secret Symphony

  • Katie Melua
  • Jazz & Blues
  • Out now
  • Dramatico
  • Everywhere
reviewed by
Salma Tantawi
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Katie Melua: Secret Symphony

True originality
isn’t easy to come by in the music business these days. We’ve witnessed more
than a fair share of artists drowning in a sea of likewise imitators. This
makes us appreciate the odd exceptions who, year after year, manage to produce
better music with each record that they release. Katie Melua’s new album Secret
Symphony
presents what any fan base would wish for in a new release; the familiar
style they have come to love with a fresh twist.

Steady,
relaxed vocals and soothing bluesy music are what shaped Melua’s previous
albums, yet Secret Symphony introduces bolder elements that are foreign
to her trademark style.  The usual slow
guitar and piano melodies have been infused with new sounds, while Melua has included
covers that give insight into her own inspirations.

‘Moonshine’
lifts the record’s tempo with a finger-snapping melody and low pitched guitar
base after ‘The Bit I Don’t Get’, whose clever rhymes and meaningful lyrics
make it the best song on the album: “
The bit that I don’t get, it’s how
it changed so fast/How it changed from we will always be together, to it will
never last”.

The only
song written by Melua on her own, except for her two collaborations with
established British producer Mike Batt, is ‘Forgetting All My Troubles’ whose positive tones stand out against the measured
ambience of the album.

Though the
album contains some covers, you hardly wince, as Melua more than makes them her
own. The best of them is the cover of the 1923 song ‘Nobody Knows You When
You’re Down and Out’, a song covered by countless artists before. It adds a unique
edge to the album, especially when listening closely to the cynical lyrics.

Like in previous
album The House, Melua cements her
position as the go-to artist when it comes to languid, romantic songs
– a reputation that, over the years, has attracted as
much scorn as it has attracted adoration
.
Overall,
Secret Symphony
marks
a welcome return of the style that put Melua on the map. More
than just regurgitating her old sound though, she has taken a leap into
exploring and expanding it.

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