It seems a little strange that an artist who only appeared on the scene in 2003 should already be releasing a 'best of' album. Cashing in on ever-dwindling music sales and the Christmas cow are likely to be the sources of blame.
Opening with the song that made her famous, The Closest Thing To Crazy is the first of 14 previously recorded and three new Melua tracks. Taken from Katie's three albums (Call Off The Search, Piece By Piece and Pictures) some songs are more instantly recognisable than others. Familiar haunts Nine Million Bicycles, Melua's number one duet with Eva Cassidy of Louis Armstrong's What A Wonderful World and Call Off The Search all feature. These three are by no means the collection's highlights however.
Melua's self-penned numbers, the socially-charged Spider's Web and the gorgeously tender I Cried For You are the songs that, in fact, scream for attention. Both showcase Katie's knack of storytelling and sumptuous, comforting vocal perfectly.
Of the new material, the collaboration between Melua and the man who discovered her, Mike Batt, on Two Bare Feet leaps out. The up-tempo, quick-step jazz is a welcomed step away from Katie's comfort zone and serves her well.
Meanwhile the DVD bonus disc includes Katie's recent 90-minute Rotterdam live show and Behind The Screens pre-concert footage. Neither of these shorts make The Katie Melua Collection worth purchasing, and if you're already a devout fan, you'd be better off simply buying the new tracks of your choice. However, if you're after an introduction to one of Britain's key female solo artists, get your wallet out now. --Elle J Small