Katie Melua was huge when she sang about bicycles in Beijing. Step by step, the focus of the music industry moved away from her, but she is still a beloved artist among her fans. On 16th October 2020, she released her eighth studio album. Here is my review.
Katie Melua – About The Artist
Ketevan Melua was born on 16th September 1984 in Kutaisi, which has been Soviet Union at that day and is nowadays part of Georgia. She moved to the United Kingdom at the age of eight and first spent major parts of youth in Belfast, before she moved to London in 1999. She turned British citizen in 2005. In 2000, Melua took part in a talent competition in British TV called Stars Up Their Noses, which she finally won. While studying in London at the BRIT School for the Performing Arts in Croydon, she ran into her future manager and producer, Mike Batt, who finally signed her for her first three albums. Already her 2003 album Call Off the Search was a huge success, topping the charts in Great Britain and Denmark and being big in many other markets. In Germany, for example, the album reached Double Platinum status. The most well-known single was The Closest Thing to Crazy, which was Top 10 in the UK and Ireland. Her biggest song, however, was the 2005 Nine Million Bicycles, which was a huge airplay, even though there were just few markets like the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium or Norway, where the song was Top 10.
The corresponding album, Piece by Piece (2005), was a huge success with four times platinum in the UK and Germany each. Katie Melua stayed more successful on the album side – the following ones, Pictures (2007) and The House (2010), had very good chart placements in many European markets as well. Melua kept being a very good chart performer in the album charts in the 2010’s with three additional releases. Not too surprisingly, Album No. 8 is indeed her eighth album.
Katie Melua – Album No. 8 – Track by Track
The ten song album lasts 37 minutes.
1. A Love Like That
The album starts with A Love Like That, which has also been the first single published out of this fire. I sometimes have quite strange associations when I listen to music – but the beginning sound like a James Bond title track to me (not the best one, though…). The song gets a bit easier thereafter. Not a blast, but not bad as well.
2. English Manner
Katie Melua as an artist has a massive asset in her portfolio: her present soft – unqiue – voice. English Manner strongly illustrates that – unfortunately, the song is overall too thin. Its classic instrumentation bridge even feels disturbing to me.
3. Leaving The Mountain
Leaving The Mountain feels a bit like a departure from pop music – the song might even have more friends on the jazz music side. It is a lovely listen – and I am sure that seeing Melua live on stage is truely impressive. For a pop-and-rock-album-at-home-listener, it just feels a bit too boring to me.
Joy is a bit more rhythmic and groovy than the songs before. I also like the acoustic guitar. Thus, I rather favor this track.
5. Voices In the Night
I mentioned the J-word already (i.e. “Jazz”). Voices In the Night is jazz to me, no genre-mix. I am just not into that genre at all. Thus, track #5 may be a good one or not – it just does not touch me.
6. Maybe I Dreamt It
Maybe I Dreamt It is to me the song on Album No. 8 so far which most focuses on Katie Meluas voice – the instrumentation is minimal. This is definitely a nice approach – but somehow, I have listened to her voice in other songs as well (even if there were stronger instrumentations). Thus, this one is not as unique as it could be.
7. Heading Home
I do not see any chance that this album is catching me, I feel. I enjoy Katie Melua’s voice, but finally, I am not listening. I feel, it is a good recording, a nice, intimate arrangement. But songs like Heading Home still finally make me feel that I do not care. I feel sad about it.
8. Your Longing Is Gone
Thank you Katie! I just felt I needed a song like that. Your Longing Is Gone is just a bit more pop-alike. Still, the instrumentation is very classic with strings and piano – but small adoptions to the way the songs are arranged lead to a much more enjoyable listen on my side.
From all songs released before the album release date, Airtime had the best user ratings on Amazon music. I am more with Your Longing is Gone.
10. Remind Me To Forget
The closing track Remind Me To Forget is one of my favorites. But the difference between the songs ist just too marginal.
Katie Melua – Album No. 8 – Spotify
Here is the Spotify widget of Album No. 8:
Katie Melua – Album No. 8 – My View
Jazz lovers may kill me for that statement, but sometimes the genre feels to me like several super-talented musicians do music together and do great stuff individually… but the total product is too weak for that. If that would be a definition of jazz, Album No. 8 would definitely be a masterpiece of that genre. The instrumentation is nice, the arrangements are fine, Katie Melua is an outstanding vocalist – but I finally just cannot say that I enjoy to listen to the songs. Too quickly, the album gets too boring. Thus, the rating is significantly below my expectations I had when I added it to my list of reviews. Sorry, Katie!