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I hear a noticeable difference on this album from her previous two. Katie has grown - vocally, musically and lyrically. Her voice is perfect; she sings impeccably. If I'm not mistaken, all the tracks on this album are original songs except for Katie's bold and beautiful cover of Leonard Cohen's "In My Secret Life".
Several songs stand out for me: "If the Lights Go Out" - a jingly/jangly Pop song about the end of the world. Reminds me of 10,000 Maniacs "Like the Weather" - a song about clinical depression done with a Pop sensibility. "What I Miss About You" is an awesome anti-breakup song. Lyrically, I am reminded of Alanis Morissette but musically, I hear Brandi Carlile. The lyrics are cold but Katie's voice is warm and flows with deep emotion. I'd hate to be the guy on the other end of that song. And how about, "If You Were a Sailboat" a deeply poetic love song.
Katie Melua is an artist with longevity - her UK career proves that. Pictures is the next chapter in what will be a long journey for a very talented and gifted artist.
It is a thematic album full of cinematic references - touching upon old-school Hollywood, horror and cowboy movies.
But there's more to the album's 12 songs.
Katie herself points out that "Pictures" is 'darker' than her first two albums and also that it features a lot more of her own input.
It is not significantly darker, but there is a hint of things to come now that Katie is branching out on her own after her three-album collaboration with Mike Batt, her manager, primary songwriter and producer.
On this one, the 24 year-old singer/songwriter seems to have realised that she's outgrown her mentor : in a way, the six songs she's penned for "Pictures" sound altogether more vital, more interesting and more affecting than Batt's seven offerings.
Throughout the album, there are the same everyday themes that someone like Lily Allen sings about, but with none of the brashness that Lily adopts. Katie's songs are far more subtle.
Its first single "If You Were a Sailboat" is typically Katie, is a nicely packaged song about - you guessed it - love, and a rather safe bet...But it may disappoint her fans, given its striking similarity to the likes of "Nine Million Bicycles".
"Mary Pickford (Used To Eat Roses)" is a good opener, it's funny, quirky and immediately makes you think that perhaps there's something different about this singer-songwriter that will set her apart from the rest. However, the next couple of songs are slightly disappointing, nice melodies but a bit bland and forgettable.
It picks up however with the bittersweet "What I Miss About You" which definitely feels like it's been written by someone who's gone through a break-up: the hopeless romantics will particularly love it.Read more ›
Born in Soviet Georgia and grown up in the United Kingdom, Melua's accent gives her a leg up over her contemporaries. For instance, the way she vocally influxes her ending notes is truly beguiling. Further, Melua is also an assiduous student of contemporary music. Perfecting the torch-like balladry of Norah Jones and picking up the hook-laden musical proclivities of Jann Arden, Melua certainly has created yet another album that is a nice crossover of contemporary jazz and pop music. While many singer-songwriters tend to indulge in lofty issues over non-melodic constructions, Melua's charm is that she takes simple (and at times even naïve) observations and builds little love stories around them. Relative to her previous couple of albums, nothing much has changed. Her longtime scribe Mike Batt is still responsible for the lion's share of the songs' genesis. However, this time the boundaries have been stretched when a languid version of Leonard Cohen's nod to post-modernity "In My Secret Life" is included.
While some men are praised by their paramours for their sensitivity or good lucks, Melua in "Scary Films" lauds praises over her lover for helping her chase away her nightmares. Though the lyrics on a cursory level may sound childish but coupled with Melua's girlish vocal twirls over its enchanting dreamy melody, "Scary Films" is so enchanting that one feels transported right into a fairy tale. Again utilizing the same "horror" theme is "Ghost Town," a forlorn broken hearted jazz ballad with a slight touch of Hank Williams' blues.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Pictures is a great album. I have the japanese import with 2 bonus tracks on it.
When you taught me how to dance & the closest thing to crazy acoustic for ten bucks. Read more
Not my favorite Katie Melua CD, but it is still packed with talent.Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
I've never heard an album by Katie Melua that I didn't love. What an outstanding artist!Published 16 months ago by David R. Purnell
Katie Melua's songs are wonderful in my opinion. Of course, others might have different opinions. It is hard to describe why one enjoys certain artists while not likely others.Published on August 15, 2014 by Kitsune
you have to listen to know how beatiful of her voices....and her music ..........love it........
you have to listen to know how beatiful of her voices.... Read more
I like it but I don't like the song choices as well as those on some of her others. She is one of my favorites and I am glad I've added it to my collection. Read morePublished on March 31, 2013 by susan p.