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Secret Symphony

4.7 out of 5 stars 178 customer reviews

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Audio CD, 5 Mar 2012
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Vinyl, 23 Apr 2012
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Product details

  • Audio CD (5 Mar. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Dramatico
  • ASIN: B005M61PGA
  • Other Editions: Audio CD |  Vinyl |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 178 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,059 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Product description

Product Description

Secret Symphony, Katie’s fifth studio album, is an exquisite collection of songs that perfectly showcases that unique, instantly recognisable voice. Those songs include ‘All Over The World’ (Françoise Hardy), ‘Gold In Them Hills’ (Ron Sexsmith), ‘Nobody Knows You’ (Jimmie Cox) and ‘Moonshine’ (Fran Healy). Katie’s also written her own song ‘Forgetting All My Troubles’, and she teams up with manager and producer Mike Batt on ‘Heartstrings’ & ‘Lone Wolf’. Batt also contributes title track ‘Secret Symphony’, ‘The Walls Of The World’, ‘Better Than A Dream’ and ‘The Bit That I Don’t Get’. The result is a collaboration that imbues the songs with a distinct personality that could only be the work of this creative team. The record allows Katie’s distinctive voice and the songs to truly shine.

BBC Review

For her latest album, Secret Symphony, Katie Melua embraces songs old and new, cleverly chosen and winningly sung. She makes each song her very own, so much so that one wouldn't know that her cover versions hadn't been written for her. She is ably assisted by Mike Batt, whose long experience as a songwriter and producer is evident.

The earliest song here, Nobody Knows When You're Down and Out from 1923, presents a timely lyric on the theme of the transitory status of wealth while it swings gently in a Dixieland arrangement with tuba emphasising the revivalist spirit in the bassline. Other singers may have tapped deeper into its New Orleans roots, but Melua's expressive handling of the lyric is just as affecting for being understated.

The gentle nature of many of these songs suits her lyrical, youthful voice. There's a prevailing air of optimism to many lyrics of open country, which are complemented by imaginative arrangements that don't distort the spirit of the originals. The opener, Ron Sexsmith’s Gold in Them Hills, and the lovely Heartstrings, written by Melua and Batt, both tap into this vein; likewise Françoise Hardy's All Over the World, a trip down memory lane to 1965, but perhaps she should have sung this in its original French language.

The whimsical lyric to Moonshine, a gentle rocker with acoustic colouring, suits Melua to a tee. A song of her own, Forgetting All My Troubles, avoids the maudlin through a sleight of hand in the harmony. Another new song, The Bit That I Don't Get, is a cautionary tale with a country edge in the instrumentation, recalling a similar scene in the Rogers and Hart torch song It Never Entered My Mind. Overall, this is a very relaxing album to while away an hour, and it's beautifully recorded.

--Adrian Edwards

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