The New Norah Jones Album “Little Broken Hearts” Sings.

For the usu­al five min­utes there in the autumn of 2001, all the talk was about an intox­i­cat­ing songstress who man­aged to deliv­er grown-up pop, infused with Nashville and gen­tly draped in the soft vel­vet of can­dle-lit lounge.

But then Norah Jones went and did some­thing unfor­giv­able. She released a debut album the fol­low­ing Feb­ru­ary that went on to sell over 20 mil­lion copies. This she com­pound­ed by tak­ing her overnight fame with a casu­al shrug of the shoul­ders. And if all that weren’t bad enough, she had to look like that.

None of which is ter­ri­bly fair. It’s hard­ly her fault is hers is the sound that ends up lin­ing the walls of every bou­tique, lift and shop­ping mall in the west­ern world. 

Nonethe­less, there was a sense that when she teamed up with Dan­ger Mouse (aka Bri­an Bur­ton) last year, she was qui­et­ly try­ing to ever so slight­ly dis­tance her­self from the Norah Jones of old.

She’d been called in by Bur­ton to pro­vide vocals for three of the tracks on his Leone/Morricone inspired Rome (reviewed ear­li­er here). And unsur­pris­ing­ly, giv­en how well that turned out, the pair have teamed up offi­cial­ly now to joint­ly pro­duce her new album, Lit­tle Bro­ken Hearts.

The oth­er ingre­di­ent in the mix, as the title sug­gests, is a gal called Miri­am, and it’s she and what she gone done that has end­ed up giv­ing Jones some­thing to get her teeth stuck into.

Well it ain’t easy to stay in love, if you can’t tell a lie, So I’ll just have to take a bow, and say good-bye, she sings on the sec­ond track “Say Good­bye”. And as the album pro­gress­es, her bit­ter­ness gen­tly ris­es to the sur­face until even­tu­al­ly, Miri­am is unmasked.

As Sasha Frere-Jones notes in his review of it in the New York­er here, she man­ages to deft­ly walk the line between tak­ing her music to the next step, but doing so with­out alien­at­ing her loy­al, not to say vast fan base. In this regard, Bur­ton in the ide­al, indeed the only choice to act as her foil.

As ever then, plush, lush, rich vel­vet, but with an edge.

Sign up for a sub­scrip­tion right or below, and I shall keep you post­ed every week with All the Very Best and Worst in Film, Tele­vi­sion and Music!

Speak Your Mind