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Katie Melua: Pictures

In England, folks don’t go to the movies; they go to the pictures. Hence the title of this latest palette of originals from prodigiously talented, 23-year-old U.K. pop-jazz sensation Katie Melua, on which she paints a dozen screen-inspired images. Some are literally cinematic, like the opening “Mary Pickford,” which whimsically but respectfully tells of the formation of United Artists by silent-era icons Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith, and “Scary Films,” a charmingly inventive homage to a new lover who provides cozy protection from nightmare-inducing Hollywood monsters.

Some seem to take specific classic films as their narrative jumping-off point, including the whirling “Spellbound” (whose therapeutically romantic theme parallels that of Hitchcock’s bizarre psychological drama from the mid-’40s) and the wistful “What I Miss About You,” which seems a slightly modernized interpretation of the beloved British melodrama Brief Encounter. Still others-“It’s All In My Head,” “If the Lights Go Out,” “Perfect Circle,” “In My Secret Life” and the captivating “If You Were a Sailboat”-evoke various sorts of the fantasizing and wish-fulfillment that lifetimes of Tinseltown plotlines (and happy endings) have taught us all to engage in. Together, they represent a masterful achievement that’s as sweet and funny as it is intelligent and engaging.

Originally Published