For the last seven years, Norah Jones has blessed the ears of music lovers with her soft voice and relaxed jazzy sound. On Nov. 17, the Grammy winner’s fourth album “The Fall” arrived with a positive musical twist. The album speaks about broken love, ended relationships and, ultimately, steps back into the single life. Considered to be her “guitar album,” Jones’ newest creation manages to produce an unexpected, but certainly welcomed, bluesy, pop-rock feel that maintains the soulful intonation and personal lyrics listeners have grown to love.
The album’s opening track, “Chasing Pirates,” immediately lets fans know that Norah Jones has taken a fresh approach to her songwriting. A light and upbeat song, the track’s drumbeat keeps heads bopping while her familiar, effortless style speaks of the confusion of love. The song is the perfect introduction to this compilation and lays down the theme of an imperfect affection with a poppy, appealing tune.
In “Light as a Feather” Jones utilizes earthy and raw vocals reminiscent of Stevie Nicks to express the trials of a broken relationship. By way of its contemplative cadence, Jones creates a haunting song with equally haunting lyrics that envelope the mind. With weighted guitar in the background, the pensive track expresses the dichotomy in most ending romances: “We’re light as a feather, heavy as weather/you and I together,” and demonstrates the thought process of those “too scared to walk away.”
Jones strays even further away from the delicate piano of her previous hits with the fiery “It’s Gonna Be.” Drums and electric guitar are the driving forces of this preachy tune that criticizes everything from money, “skinny naked blondes,” to the political with “Our Busted Nation”. The twangy track shows off Jones’ bluesy side as she wails “It’s gonna be,” over and over to the delight of listeners. One of the liveliest on the album, the song is sure to be added to her repertoire of hits.
Normally focused on her vocals, Jones shows off her musical talent in “The Fall,” playing not only her stand-by piano, but also guitar, organ and even glockenspiel. The change in instrumental composition never takes away from the talent that put Norah Jones on the stage in the first place. Songs like the waltz “Back to Manhattan” and the gentle “I Wouldn’t Need You” withhold the sultry voice and easy arrangements that make Jones the perfect blanket on a rainy day – the quintessential “after-hours” songstress.
As a whole, Jones’ “The Fall” is certainly a cohesive tale of the woes of parting with titles like “Waiting,” “Stuck” and “You’ve Ruined Me.” After her process of heartbreak and suffering, Jones reaches a new stage in her break-up epic with the unhurried “Tell Yer Mama,” declaring “You’re so damn wrong.” Ultimately, Jones rejects human love and playfully resorts to the companionship of her dog, in the Billie Holiday-esque “Man of the Hour.”
Though not always the calm jazziness equated with Jones, “The Fall” is far from a disappointment and proves Norah Jones’ ability to stay true to her music, evolve as an artist and pick herself up when she falls.
Angelica Szani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.