Katie Melua – Secret Symphony (Special Bonus Edition) (2012)

Katie Melua - Secret Symphony (Special Bonus Edition) (2012)
Artist: Katie Melua
Album: Secret Symphony (Special Bonus Edition)
Genre: Jazz Pop, Vocal Jazz
Origin: UK
Released: 2012
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps

Tracklist:
CD 1:
1. Gold in Them Hills [03:29]
2. Better Than a Dream [03:08]
3. The Bit That I Don’t Get [03:11]
4. Moonshine [02:40]
5. Forgetting All My Troubles [03:21]
6. All Over the World [02:54]
7. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out [04:31]
8. The Cry of the Lone Wolf [03:57]
9. Heartstrings [02:51]
10. The Walls of the World [03:23]
11. Secret Symphony [03:49]
The Secret Sessions:
12. Feels Like Home [04:48]
13. Too Long at the Fair [03:04]
14. Love Me Tender [03:12]
15. It’s Over [03:18]

CD 2 – Live In Berlin:
1. Secret Symphony [04:03]
2. The Flood [03:58]
3. A Moment of Madness [04:05]
4. If You Were a Sailboat [03:55]
5. Better Than a Dream [03:13]
6. Gold in Them Hills [03:42]
7. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out [04:10]
8. If the Lights Go Out [03:55]
9. Moonshine [02:48]
10. Call Off the Search [03:29]
11. The Bit That I Don’t Get [03:06]
12. Tiger in the Night [03:05]
13. The Walls of the World [03:30]
14. The Cry of the Lone Wolf [04:05]
15. Nine Million Bicycles [03:13]
16. All Over the World [03:00]
17. Heartstrings [02:57]
18. Mockingbird Song [04:08]
19. Two Bare Feet [03:02]
20. The Closest Thing to Crazy [04:28]
21. I Cried for You [03:45]

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Apropos of nothing, Georgian-born chanteuse Katie Melua surprised everyone with 2010’s The House by hooking up with William Orbit and fusing her familiar brand of coffee table jazz-pop with flourishes of subtle electronica. Perhaps concerned that it failed to top the charts like her previous three records, the 27-year-old has reverted to type for its follow-up, Secret Symphony, by returning to mentor Mike Batt, the former Wombles songwriter responsible for her incredible early success. It’s a disappointing and frustrating retreat back to safety. Melua’s distinctive velvety vocals were always more intriguing than the so-laid-back-they’re-horizontal arrangements which surrounded them, but her last effort was an encouraging sign that she could leave her usual dinner party background music firmly behind. And while Batt’s contributions here — such as the drowsy lounge pop of “The Bit That I Don’t Get,” the steel-laden country balladry of “The Walls of the World,” and the yearning, string-soaked title track — are all typically elegant, demure, and understated affairs, they’re so overly polite and ultimately anodyne, they make Eva Cassidy sound like a death metal act. If any more evidence were needed that Batt appears to be restricting her talents, Melua is far more captivating on the self-penned chamber pop of “Forgetting All My Troubles,” and the four cover versions included, from the soaring torch song reworking of Ron Sexsmith’s “Gold in Them Hills,” to the double bass-led shuffle treatment of Fran Healy’s “Moonshine,” to the straightforward rendition of Françoise Hardy’s sultry chanson “All Over the World.” Secret Symphony is therefore not without its charms, but ultimately it’s a clear step backwards from an artist who appeared to be overcoming her notable lack of edge.
Review by Jon O’Brien

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