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Katie the great

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Having come out as a romantic, I must say that the young English songstress, the very real Katie Melua, is any red-blooded romantic’s fantasy. Deliciously understated in a world of hype, never quite fashionable, going her own way, stunningly talented, breathtakingly beautiful and ever-refreshing, Melua is producing an incredible range of songs and moods within her own unique framework. The first songs I heard from were delicate and I suspected a bit twee, but the many masterful live performances I’ve seen from her on the net have easily convinced me she’s the real deal, her voice capable of jazzing it up with the best, but so strong in creating a new atmosphere about it in an instant. You feel there’s a real underlying force there. All her songs have an understated quirkiness about them, quite at odds with the usual noise of the modern music industry. Great stuff. Some great video clips too.
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The quirkiness comes in many forms. For example, ‘Mary Pickford’ is a whimsical ditty about the four great silent movie personae [Pickford, Fairbanks, Chaplin and Griffith] who created United Artists. Not the usual sort of subject for a barely-out-of-her-teens pop queen. Another song, ‘I’d love to kill you’, is perhaps more than merely quirky. Like many of her songs, it’s a ‘relationship’ song, in this case giving a glimpse into a bad relationship, or a bad moment in a relationship. The pared-down delivery emphasises the creepiness, and the poeticism.

I think my attraction to Melua probably comes partly from the fact that I first heard about her from high-profile sceptic Michael Shermer, who used her song ‘nine million bicycles’ in an entertaining TED talk. This helped give her a possibly unwarranted intellectual cachet, and her dressed-down style and air of groundedness certainly help. Sigh.

Finally, I should’ve researched just a wee bit before I started this post! Melua’s Wikipedia entry tells me she’s a much bigger ‘star’ than I’d thought, but also, disappointingly, she doesn’t write her own stuff. She’s co-written and written some stuff, but most of the music that has struck me was written by someone else. Oh well. I won’t stop loving her just yet.

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Written by stewart henderson

May 22, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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