Norah Jones
Not Too Late


3.5
great

Review

by Tyler Fisher EMERITUS
February 1st, 2007 | 29 replies | 8,672 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Norah's first album of entirely self-composed songs, Not Too Late is an album of subtle, beautiful songs, but with little variety.

Everybody has their fetishes, but I think mine is a bit different from the rest of the world. I tend to subconsciously be attracted to brunette piano players. I’m not sure why, but every girl I’ve ever been interested in was a brunette piano player. One day, I was flipping through a book of the best selling albums of all time. It went by decade, and the list had been pretty predictable, with The Beatles dominating the 60s, and Thriller topping the 80s charts. But when I got to the 00s, I was very surprised to find Norah Jones’ Come Away With Me as the best selling album of the 21st century. This is quite an accomplishment, especially with the album being her debut and taken as a jazz album, a genre very unpopular with today’s society. I knew little about Norah, and maybe it was her brown hair and piano talents that drew me to her, but after seeing her claim that top spot, I had to check her out.

Now it’s 2007 and Norah has rose to prominence as the Ella Fitzgerald of the 21st century, a keystone in the modern popular jazz scene. But is she really a jazz artist? Not Too Late is her third album, and it shows her elegance in a long black and white dress, contrasting the warm red room around her. It is vibrant and a sort of clash, but it makes Norah look all the better. This well represents how Norah has masterfully crossed country and western music with her jazz background. Where Come Away With Me was more jazz oriented and Feels Like Home had a much more prominent western tinge, Not Too Late finds the happy equilibrium between the two. What is remarkable is the way that Norah mixes the two genres by taking a more minimalist approach, rather than trying to combine every element of both genres into each song. Not Too Late may be her most subtle album yet, laced with simple melodies and hardly any accompaniment. It showcases her always spot-on voice.

However, Not Too Late is actually a showcase of Norah’s songwriting more than anything. This is the first album where she wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the album, and her true tastes and ideas come out for the first time. Don’t Know Why was not a Norah original, and she really isn’t a jazz artist. Her heart lies much more in western music, although she does have a slight jazz influence thrown into the inflections in her voice and some of her piano lines. Her instrumentation, very guitar-oriented with a lot of slide and upright bass, sets the subtle country feel and lets it dominate all the other influences. Wish I Could lets the listener know Norah’s true intentions immediately, with guitar arpeggios. No piano. The guitar leads the song along with Norah singing easy and laid back vocals, yet her vocal quality glistens through the recording. Cello and vocal harmonies give the song a sense of growth, but for the most part, the song is one of the more laid-back, a prominent style on the album.

While doing research for the album, Sinkin’ Soon excited me. M. Ward, one of my favorite artists of the time, had a hand in the song. His contribution is minimal, just a few backing vocals here and there, but Sinkin’ Soon[ is certainly the strangest and quirkiest song on the album. If Regina Spektor did the Corpse Bride soundtrack, the result would probably be similar to this. Featuring horns, a playful groove, and guitar on the upbeats, the song brews in its quiet, subtle groove. Once the song gets going, with its bluesy tagline, strange plunger brass stands out even above Norah’s voice. Sinkin’ Soon is easily a standout, just because of its originality and life compared to the rest of the album. Much of Not Too Late is the slow, subtle country ballads. While all of them are well done, the album becomes one long ballad. Only a few stand out, due to some extremely effective vocal melodies from Norah or a featured instrument such as the Wurlitzer or the Hammond B-3 Organ. Thinking About You is one of those, and the album’s first single. Norah continuously tried to incorporate this song into her albums, a song she wrote while in her Wax Poetic days. According to her, her earlier versions were too country-rock even for her. The result is a western jazz hybrid in the truest sense, with very country-styled melodies from the organ and Wurlitzer, but the jazzy horn section provides great countermelodies.

The only other true sense of variety comes in My Dear Country. It still falls in the same tempo range as the rest of the album, but it takes a piano-waltz spin on everything. For the most part, besides a short instrumental section, the song is just Norah and her piano, where she sounds most comfortable. Her lyrics take a political stab, with an uneasy and indecisive take on the process of Election Day. She masterfully spins her lyrics, no matter how unsure her opinion. The waltz gives a nice break in the middle of the album, as the rest gears in for more slow brooders. That being said, all of them have slight subtleties that make them good songs. Rosie’s Lullaby, Not Too Late, and The Sun Doesn’t Like You are all examples of Norah writing excellent songs. However, the rest are just there and all sound like each other. That is the album’s major flaw. Taking on an album of entirely her own songs proved a challenge for her, and with time, she may reach her full potential. She has a fantastic voice and her songwriting talent shines in a few songs off this album. Norah Jones has the potential to be one of the defining singers of the decade, but her songwriting needs to take on more styles and more voices.

Recommended Tracks:
Sinkin’ Soon
The Sun Doesn’t Like You
Thinking About You
My Dear Country
Rosie’s Lullaby



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Chart.
3.2
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Brendan Schroer STAFF (2.5)
More of the same, really....


Comments:Add a Comment 
FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
February 1st 2007



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I hope this review is NOT TOO LATE lmao

La Revolucion
February 1st 2007



1060 Comments


Well this ties in quite nicely with the news I posted about her (under M. Ward's name).

Anyway, Norah Jones is extremely boring.

...You recommended Grace? Where'd that come from?This Message Edited On 02.01.07

Jom
Staff Reviewer
February 1st 2007



2658 Comments


Hooray for e-cookies!
Real good work as usual. Have a good February reviewing.

The Door Mouse
February 1st 2007



2092 Comments


I forgot to ask this in the thread, what's an e-cookie?
/Waits to get yelled at.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
February 1st 2007



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

[quote=Revolucion]...You recommended Grace? Where'd that come from?[/quote]

Mainly for Hallelujah, but the vocal-centric tendencies are similar.

La Revolucion
February 1st 2007



1060 Comments


Zepdude good lord it's a cookie. Over the internet. For internet eating.

Mainly for Hallelujah, but the vocal-centric tendencies are similar.

Gotcha.This Message Edited On 02.01.07

The Door Mouse
February 1st 2007



2092 Comments


Oh. I thought it was a 100x100ish avatar prize thingy.

La Revolucion
February 1st 2007



1060 Comments


No, but it's just as valuable and sought after.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
February 1st 2007



17920 Comments


I hope this review is NOT TOO LATE lmao

i lol'd at that

Sweet review.

mx
Moderator
February 1st 2007



733 Comments


Thanks =) BTW, I meant this week, not right away.This Message Edited On 02.01.07

Intransit
February 1st 2007



2797 Comments


eggscelent work. I liked Norah's older work in Come Away With Me, quite a bit. I'll certainly check this out.

And I must say, Ms Jones is looking quite striking on the cover.

JohnXDoesn't
February 2nd 2007



1267 Comments


BTW, I meant this week, not right away.


dammit Jeremy stop being such a limp wristed task master. crack that whip, for pete's sake! :smash:

nice review. i shall listen tonite before bed....This Message Edited On 02.01.07

radianteclipse
February 2nd 2007



397 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is a lovely album, and probably the best one she has released yet.

LivingDeadBoy
February 2nd 2007



1 Comments


I work at Starbucks every second day of my life, working 8 hour long shifts sometimes. Well let me tell you, after listening to this album for this whole time, Norah sounds like the devil and the piano like the devil's hideous tools used to drill into the victims head.

But really, It isn't that bad. Sure it's annoying now, but there are some great songs on this album.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
February 2nd 2007



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

[quote=Big Papi]Thanks =) BTW, I meant this week, not right away.[/quote]

No I was writing it before you posted that anyway.

wisechick80
February 2nd 2007



12 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Norah's boring overall but she does have some good material. Not overly inventive mind you, but good background music while I'm at Starbucks.

Muisee
February 2nd 2007



679 Comments


She is very boring in my opinion, could but anyone to sleep in 15 seconds flat.

Tyler
Emeritus
February 2nd 2007



7926 Comments


Snorah Jones.

Oddsen
February 2nd 2007



1127 Comments


Nice review. My mom bought this album but I'm yet to here it though i'm sure i'll
generally like what i hear. Her voice has always seemed so great to me.This Message Edited On 02.02.07

Intransit
February 3rd 2007



2797 Comments


[quote=nose candy]Snorah Jones.[/quote]
lolololol gud1



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