Katie Melua – Love and Money
In 2023, Katie Melua celebrates the 20th anniversary of her debut, having earned a legion of fans with her indie folk that fuses elements of blues and jazz. The Georgian-British singer returns with her ninth studio album and first release since 2020, Love and Money.
Opener Golden Record is a departure from what listeners might expect: built around a repetitive drum beat, it’s a long way from her early acoustic work, though still bringing her distinctive, haunting vocals. Quiet Moves continues the sonic shift, more upbeat in tempo and piano-driven – Melua is clearly at ease straying from her comfort zone. 14 Windows will feel more familiar to fans, a comparatively stripped-back listen.
The stunning Darling Star is a beautiful piano-based track that ranks as one of the best on the record, capturing the warmth and depth of the singer’s voice. Meanwhile, Reefs is an almost indie-sounding offering that doesn’t quite come off on the same level as some of its counterparts, but it is a pleasing risk.
The overarching sound here feels looser than in previous work, a deliberate move that feels befitting of the more introspective, reflective nature of the lyrics about her rise to fame over the past two decades and first moving to the UK. This is one of the artist’s most personal releases and spotlights her well-known songwriting ability.
It is a welcome development to see Melua stretching herself musically, employing instruments and genres that we haven’t heard from her before, and proving her vocals and composing style can diverge, often seamlessly. While her soothing delivery is as appealing as ever, the songs themselves tend to meander, resulting in a frustrating record that doesn’t quite hit the peaks it might, in spite of some beautiful moments.
Love and Money is an ambitious record from Katie Melua that is close to home. The stylistic shifts are intriguing, leaning into some unexpected directions, with piano ballads interspersed with drumbeat loops and indie guitars that don’t distract from the strength of the songwriting. The soft nature of some of the tracks can at times be a tad repetitive but, overall, this is another strong album. And, as her ninth, it proves Melua still has a lot to say and is willing to push herself, exploring new sounds – something that should be applauded, even if it doesn’t always land perfectly.
Love and Money is released on 24th March 2023. For further information or to order the album visit Katie Melua’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Golden Record here: