LFF's Music Pick of the Week (03-12-2006)
Mar 13, 2006 at 7:01 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 12

LFF

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LFF’s Music Pick of the Week
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[size=medium]With guest reviewer Jasper994[/size]

Katie Melua – Call Off The Search
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The first question most people ask me about the Blues is “Doesn’t that music sound so depressing – Doesn’t it bum you out?”. Well, I guess technically, the Blues is a genre which is supposed to communicate feelings of hardship and woe. However, every once in a while you get a CD which lies in the Blues genre which sounds so damn good that it actually makes you smile. This is one such CD.

Katie Melua may not be a mainstream name but she provides this album with very good girlish vocals – such vocals that make me wonder why she isn’t better known. Melua is definitely a beautiful woman with a beautiful voice to match. Her good looks make this album an easy one to look at and her lush, sweet voice make this album easy to listen to. Good looks and good vocals make her easy to compare to Norah Jones but I do not think the two can really be compared fairly. Both are beautiful, both have great voices far more mature than their age reveals. However, if Norah Jones is compared to other female vocalists like Ella Fitzgerald or Billie Holiday, then Katie Melua should be compared to Rosemary Clooney or Lena Horne. In other words, Jones has the more “experienced” and mature voice while Melua’s is more girlish in style. Another huge important difference is that unlike Jones’s Come Away With Me, this album has the added advantage of having been properly remastered by someone who can actually listen.

The remastering and resolution of this album coupled with her fantastic voice allows the lyrics to be communicated with ease. It is so well recorded you can hear her lips open right before she sings
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. Moreover, you really don’t have to listen to all the tracks to know this is an album worth getting. The very first track provides you with the lush vocals mentioned above and it includes a wonderful violin and fabulous trumpet solo.

The star track on this album is the third one – The Closest Thing To Crazy. The lyrics are very poetic and the orchestration is reserved but very appropriate to the subject and Melua’s phrasing is phenomenal as she truly sings this track with passion and feeling. This is one Blues track which will definitely make you smile.

“My Aphrodisiac Is You” was hammered by critics as being a bad choice and not a properly performed track – especially by a 19 year old. I would have to respectfully disagree. Being sung by Melua, this track comes across as very playful. Now, honestly, what is wrong with a girl like Melua singing a song about how her turn on is you???
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. I can’t think why this is so wrong or why it would be inappropriate to be sung in a girlish, playful way by a 19 year old
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. It’s all good to me.
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On the whole this is a great album. If your expecting a masterpiece then your going to have to look elsewhere. If you are looking for some satisfying new music by a very promising artist then this album is for you. It may not be a masterpiece but it is sufficiently different from all the mainstream “pop” jazz and “pop” blues (tempted to say “poop”) to make it worthy of a serious listen. The link provided is for the special edition of this album which includes a DVD. On the whole, you can’t go wrong with this album, especially if your going to have a romantic rendezvous with a special someone.

Recommended (especially for a date).



Without further adieu, here is what Jasper 994 had to say about this album:

Call off the Search
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For background info on Katie visit: http://www.katiemelua.com/biography.htm

Vocals – Katie Melua
Guitars – Kate Melua, Chris Spedding, Jim Cregan
Piano & Organ – Mike Batt
Bass Guitar: Tim Harries
Drums – Henry Spinetti, Michael Kruk
Orchestra – The Irish Film Orchestra
Conductor – Mike Batt, Leader: Alan Smale

Writers:
Tracks 7 & 11 Katie Melua
Track 2 John Mayall
Track 5 Delores J Silver
Track 8 Randy Newman
Track 12 James Shelton
Tracks 1, 3, 4, 6, 9, and 10 Mike Batt

Call off the Search – Wow, what a beautiful song. Katie’s marvelous voice is accented perfectly by the delightful instrumentation of The Irish Film Orchestra. In particular, look for the trumpet and violin solos.

Crawling Up a Hill – This is such a fun and charming song, perhaps about herself. It tells the story of a girl who quits her office job to sing the blues in London.

The Closest Thing to Crazy – Again, the accompaniment by The Irish Film Orchestra is just fabulous, but her sweet voice simply steals me away. If I hadn’t promised Luis I’d finish this review ASAP, I’d just leave this song on repeat for awhile…

My Aphrodisiac Is You – This song grabbed me right away. Katie puts a lot of emotion into this song and really sells it. Every time I hear this song a really big smile forms on my face, and holds there till it’s over.

Learnin’ the Blues – This song is solemn, but gorgeous. They mic’d her voice perfectly and captured the soulful breathiness in her voice that really makes this song.

Blame it on the Moon – LOL, yes, let’s… Not a bad song, but not my favorite on the album. Somehow it doesn’t draw me in the way the first five songs on the album have. Still, her voice is charming and the instrumentation is pleasant.

Belfast (Penguins and Cats) – This is one of the two songs on the album that Katie wrote. The lyrics are rather strange, but she seems to be commenting on how big cities aren’t really all they’re cracked up to be. There are a couple of noticeable flaws in the recording on this one, but they don’t take away from it. Overall, it’s a likeable song that fits in well with the album. People who like poetry will probably really like this one.

I Think it’s Going to Rain Today – This is another lovely cut with beautiful instrumentation. I’m not exactly sure what the writer was trying to say, but the song enjoyable none-the-less.

Mockingbird Song – A play on the old Mockingbird song; this song works wonderfully to lighten up the mood. It’s fun and cute… another big grin song.

Tiger in the Night – This is a sweet song about a lover clinging on to the strength of their partner. Simply beautiful….

Faraway Voice – This is the other song on the album that was written by Katie, and is a tribute to Eva Cassidy, one of Katie’s major influences. This song is so beautifully put together both lyrically, and in its performance. It moved me very near to tears.

Lilac Wine – Lilac Wine is a somber song of drinking away one’s sorrows over a lost lover. The orchestra and Katie’s voice blend together in this song so wonderfully that I’m carried off again into a very sad, and yet somehow charming place. When the song ends I want nothing more than to start it again so I can revel in that place for a little while longer….

This album is like a heartfelt, romantic journey through the many stages and emotions of love…. The recording is also well done with only a couple of very minor flaws. This album works for me on so many levels that I can’t possibly recommend it enough.

- Jasper 994[/size]
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 8:09 PM Post #3 of 12

BluesDaddy

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And just as a sidenote, the Blues is supposed to help relieve one having the blues, not depress one. Lots of "blues" isn't blue, but quite upbeat and/or a call to overcome those conditions that weigh one done.
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 9:05 PM Post #4 of 12

LFF

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Quote:

Originally Posted by BluesDaddy
And just as a sidenote, the Blues is supposed to help relieve one having the blues, not depress one. Lots of "blues" isn't blue, but quite upbeat and/or a call to overcome those conditions that weigh one done.


You are correct BluesDaddy. People always think the Blues is depressing (without having heard it). I guess the Blues is a genre which is supposed to communicate feelings of hardship and woe but as you pointed out - it is a call to overcome those conditions. Well put BluesDaddy.
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Mar 14, 2006 at 1:17 AM Post #5 of 12

Jasper994

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Thanks for having me on as a guest reviewer. I had a lot of fun with this, we should do it again.

Katie's sophomore album "Piece by Piece" is more mature with quite the different personality. If you like I'd be happy to review that with you next week.
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Mar 14, 2006 at 1:20 AM Post #6 of 12

LFF

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Jasper994
Katie's sophomore album "Piece by Piece" is more mature with quite the different personality. If you like I'd be happy to review that with you next week.
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Sounds good. It sounds like next week will be a double whammy week because I just got the pick of the week for next week.
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Mar 14, 2006 at 2:13 AM Post #7 of 12

Jasper994

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Quote:

Originally Posted by LFF
Sounds good. It sounds like next week will be a double whammy week because I just got the pick of the week for next week.
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The Trotter Trio?
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 2:25 AM Post #8 of 12

LFF

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Jasper994
The Trotter Trio?


Nope. The trotter trio CD I got is very hard to find new and under $20.00, you can get it used for $4.00 but some people don't like to buy used. Over the weekend I was checking prices and found a new one, factory sealed for $60.00. In the end it just depends what you prefer and I prefer to post picks which are readily available. Moreover, it may not be everyone's cup of tea. Some people I have played it for have had no idea what to make of it.

For those of you interested, Jasper994 is talking about this album which I recently purchased. I purchased the limited edition white cover version but I am sure they are the same soundwise. I definately recommend it for Star Wars fans or Jedi.
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Mar 14, 2006 at 2:29 AM Post #9 of 12

wakeride74

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I have the original recording, found her when it first came out at Best Buy for 6.99! Is the remasterd worth upgrading?? What did you think of her most recent release?

Also, given your taste LFF you may also want to take a look at Clare Fader and The Vaudevillians you can listen here and here
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 4:00 AM Post #10 of 12

LFF

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Quote:

Originally Posted by wakeride74
I have the original recording, found her when it first came out at Best Buy for 6.99! Is the remasterd worth upgrading?? What did you think of her most recent release?

Also, given your taste LFF you may also want to take a look at Clare Fader and The Vaudevillians you can listen here and here



If you own the original version then I think you should stick to it unless you want the added songs and the cool DVD. The price is reasonable and I am thinking about purchasing it soon.

As for her most recent release - I have not heard it yet.
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I will post my impressions when I do. Who knows, if it is better than this one, it may be a pick of the week.
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Apr 1, 2006 at 2:26 PM Post #11 of 12

musicmind

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...well we know better than to resist the British Marketing Machine's latest candy. Resistance is futile. By the time we get bored they will have something new anyways
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I think more people are taken by her cute looks than her musical substance...but each to his own. Personally I'm not too much into the M(usicians)ILF thing
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Maybe if Anna Kournikova and Katie do a duet, I might change my mind though
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All jokes aside, she is still a newcomer and has done very well considering.
(reaches for 10 000 maniacs unplugged CD
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)

I didnt know she was (ex) Georgian...

Keep the reviews comin' LFF
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Apr 1, 2006 at 2:29 PM Post #12 of 12

musicmind

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...well we know better than to resist the British Marketing Machine's latest candy. Resistance is futile. By the time we get bored they will have something new anyways
wink.gif


I think more people are taken by her cute looks than her musical substance...but each to his own. Personally I'm not too much into the M(usicians)ILF thing
wink.gif
Maybe if Anna Kournikova and Katie do a duet, I might change my mind though
biggrin.gif


All jokes aside, she is still a newcomer and has done very well considering.
(reaches for 10 000 maniacs unplugged CD)

I didnt know she was (ex) Georgian...

Keep the reviews comin' LFF
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