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Call Off the Search

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Album Review

English listeners went mad for Katie Melua with the release of her debut album in late 2003. Issued domestically in June 2004, Call Off the Search posits the lovely Melua pristinely in between pop, adult contemporary, and traditional American musical forms, with savvy marketing handling the finishing touches. (Think Norah Jones.) It's a comfortable, lightly melodic affair that drinks red wine safely in the middle of the road. Raised in Soviet Georgia and the United Kingdom, Melua has a beguiling accent that colors the ends of her phrases, adding character to her velvety, if occasionally only satisfactory singing voice. She has a nice time with the understated R&B sashay of John Mayall's "Crawling Up a Hill," as well as Mike Batt's "My Aphrodisiac Is You," which is spiced up with barrelhouse piano, muted trumpet, and sly references to opium and the Kama Sutra. The singer's own "Belfast (Penguins and Cats)" opens nicely with a few measures of solo acoustic guitar before it's joined by the orchestral maneuvers that sweep through the majority of Call Off the Search's after-dark cabaret. (Melua also penned a dedication to Eva Cassidy, who she's been compared to vocally.) While the instrumentation is never overbearing, a stoic version of Randy Newman's "I Think It's Going to Rain Today" and a couple of late-album pop vocal entries do dawdle a bit in the soft-focus halo that hovers over Search's more easygoing stretches. These selections are perfectly capable, yet pretty obvious, as if the decision was made to sprinkle Melua's debut equally with safety and variety, in case a particular style didn't stick. Still, despite a few detours down easy street, Call Off the Search is a promising debut, and comfortable like the first drink of the evening.

Customer Reviews

Call Off the Search

I first heard Katie Melua in, of all places, Baghdad, Iraq in early 2004. The BBC World Service, which broadcast locally on FM, had a music review show that featured her. One commentator had the gall to suggest that at the age of 19 (in 2004) she could not possibly have the life experience to qualify her to sing the songs she did. What rubbish! It's the voice that counts. She has a sweeter sound than Norah Jones but sounds at home whether it's a pop, folk, rock, or jazz tune. Downloading Katie Melua's songs from iTunes during my tour of duty definitely helped my morale, and I'd thank her in person if I could. Here's hoping that iTunes makes more of her music available!

Absolutely Gorgeous!

Katie has a smooth and sultry voice. In a word, it is amazing. She can calm me down in almost any atmosphere or situation. My favorite songs on the album are Blame It On the Moon and I Think It's Going to Rain Today. She is not very well known as of yet, but she is supposed to be gaining a following in London. She sings a lot about love and heartbreak, and things everyone can relate to, but the songs sound (and sometimes are) old in a way that makes them immediate classics. For more of my reviews go to

Greater things to come

Katie is wonderful on this CD and I give it 5 stars without any qualms. She has a wonderful voice and great sense of phrasing. My only regret is that the iTunes Music Store doesn't have her new CD "Piece By Piece" available yet. If anything her vocals have matured and her phrasing is more assured on this new release. "Spider's Web" is due to be released as a single April 10, 2006 - probably only in the UK. Great lyrics! Her "Nine Million Bicycles" is a great tune with wonderful native flutes. Also, look for great renditions of Canned Heat's "One the Road Again" and The Cure's "Just Like Heaven". Great first effort and listen for even better things to come.


Born: September 16, 1984 in Kutaisi, Georgia, Russia

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Plucked from music-school obscurity by songwriter/producer Mike Batt, Katie Melua quickly became the highest-selling female musician in the U.K., a feat that owed much of its success to her wildly popular 2003 debut. Melua was born in Soviet Georgia in 1984 and later moved to Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her family pulled up stakes several years later and relocated to London, where Melua entered the B.R.I.T. School for the Performing Arts & Technology. The record industry-funded school had a habit...
Full Bio
Call Off the Search, Katie Melua
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Customer Ratings