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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Record Reviews > Norah Jones

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Norah Jones – The Fall (Blue Note)

Norah Jones has performed several types of music over the years since her breakthrough album Come Away With Me.  In that album and her two follow-up CDs (three if you count her gig with the alt.country supergroup The Little Willies) she has worked in jazz, country, folk, pop and R&B – but given them all her own personal smoky slant. 

This fourth album is supposed to be Jones’ rock and roll album – and it does sort of rock, in a rather polite way.  But no one is ever going to look for Norah Jones to be another Courtney Love, and The Fall works specifically because she branches out musically without forgetting her true strengths as an artist. 

In fact, The Fall is definitely the most modern sounding album Jones has recorded – losing some of the old-fashioned sheen of her earlier albums (as well as the classic covers).  This is partially due to the work of producer Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, Tom Waits, Mute Math) – but mostly it stems from Jones’ continuing growth as a songwriter.  (Unlike previous albums, Jones wrote or co-wrote every track here.)

Much of this will fit into AAA radio well – reconfiguring Jones as a smart singer/songwriter in the Rosanne Cash/Aimee Mann/Fiona Apple vein.  The first single is “Chasing Pirates,” with a boho-Rickie Lee Jones (no relation) vibe.  That is followed up by the lovely strutting “Even Though.” 

“It’s Gonna Be” is probably as close as Jones gets to rocking out – and even that is only a mid-tempo tune, but Jones’ vocals pull it together.  The lament “You’ve Ruined Me” continues to show growth.

The Fall is not as immediately commercial as her breakthrough, but it may even be a more cohesive musical statement.  (12/09)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright © 2009 PopEntertainment.com All rights reserved.  Posted December 16, 2009.

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Copyright © 2002-2009 PopEntertainment.com All rights reserved.  Posted April 12, 2002 and December 16, 2009.
Revised: March 11, 2017.

Norah Jones-Come Away With Me (Blue Note)

This is just about the best debut album I've heard in years.  Jones' sultry vocals and extraordinary musical taste have led to stunning synthesis of jazz, pop folk and country.  The album starts off with the truly astounding "Don't Know Why" which is simultaneously insanely cool and heartbreaking.  Nothing else on the album can quite reach these heights, but the drop-off in quality is so negligible that it's barely noticeable. 

Couched in the velvety splendor of the stunning originals (mostly by band members Jesse Harris and Lee Alexander, but a couple by Jones herself) are stellar reinterpretations of Hank Williams' "Cold Cold Heart" and Hoagy Carmichael's "The Nearness of You."  The fact that these well-known standards feel fresh again, and that these acknowledged masterpieces do not overshadow the new songs, just show you the true depth of Come Away With Me

Other standout songs include "Feeling The Same Way," which is hauntingly lovely, as is the quietly devotional come-on of the title track.  "Seven Years" captures the pastoral peace of being a little girl in the way that few songs can.  Norah Jones is one of the few artists who deserves all the next-big-thing hype. (4/02)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright © 2002 PopEntertainment.com All rights reserved.  Posted April 12, 2002.

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