Norah Jones
Not Too Late


2.5
average

Review

by Brendan Schroer STAFF
March 12th, 2013 | 24 replies | 1,080 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: More of the same, really.

When Norah Jones's 2003 debut Come Away with Me hit store shelves, much of the public went on to consider Ms. Jones the voice of a generation. Sacrificing autotune and synthesized beats for crooning and smooth jazz arrangements, she clearly stood out among her contemporaries. Come Away with Me, while not without its stale moments and missteps, was a breath of fresh air in the pop scene, which seemed quite lacking around that time (arguably today as well). Nearly every radio station was playing the hit single "Don't Know Why," which still appears to be a staple in terms of jazz standards. So is it any wonder that Jones couldn't replicate such a massively successful album with her next two efforts?

While follow-up Feels Like Home still had many of her debut's endearing qualities, Not Too Late feels remarkably tired and, for lack of a better word, boring. It has its moments, sure, but everything just seems to drift about aimlessly without much direction from Jones. This is why folkier acoustic numbers such as opening highlight "Wish I Could" and the dark, eerie "Not My Friend" really pick up the album in certain spots. However, this doesn't exactly save stale compositions such as third single "Until the End," which drags from note one. It doesn't even have anything in the way of an intro; it just throws the listener in the middle of a bland waltz-like tune with little in the way of instrumental embellishments to keep things interesting. Also among such issues is the lack of command in Jones's voice; while Come Away with Me saw her performing with a similar vocal style, it sounded much more passionate and strong. Here, her voice lacks a certain punch needed to carry it from mediocrity. Granted, not all songs are unfortunate enough to suffer from such problems; check out "Sinkin' Soon." Beginning with a bluesy swagger in the piano and guitar work, the song is spiced up with a more "sly" vocal approach, coupled with some entertainingly jumpy piano lines. It shows Jones's adventurous side a bit more, which is also showcased in "My Dear Country." Clearly a political stab, another waltz-like 3/4 tempo is used, but to a much greater effect; Jones sends the listener through sort of a Baroque-sounding time tunnel, utilizing elements of that musical period to create a worried piece about the state of America and its leadership. Finally, there's "The Sun Doesn't Like You," which takes a simple acoustic guitar line and experiments with the instrumentation around it. Dynamics vary, Jones's voice sounds fitting, and the percussion is very light to fit the piece's mood.

Even then, this doesn't make up for the fact that about three-fourths of this record sounds like Come Away with Me outtakes. And as if more proof was needed, listen to both "Wake Me Up" and "Little Room," particularly the latter. "Little Room" is perhaps the biggest travesty on this album; it's essentially an easy-listening tune played in A Major, and after Jones counts the beats to kick off the song, everything feels completely underwhelming. There's never much in the way of instrumental variety, with the mellow acoustic guitar never spicing things up in any way and no other instruments prominently featured throughout. Jones's lyrics are innocent enough, but her singing is extremely repetitive. Her crooning is very one-note, and the whistling feels very unnecessary, despite finally offering some much-needed variety to the song. "Wake Me Up" is decent, but suffers from many of the same problems "Little Room" did; while the guitar work is a bit more varied, the slide-guitar and overall country atmosphere seems a little bit out-of-place.

So, after all that, I must really hate this record, right? Not really; the simple truth is that it's just not very interesting. Even in terms of wanting a record to wind down to, you'd be better off with Come Away with Me. This just feels like a collection of recycled b-sides from Jones's past work; it's not necessarily bad, just disappointing. Norah Jones is a great singer and artist, but even if you're a hardcore fan, be cautious on buying this one.

Recommended Tracks: Sinkin' Soon, The Sun Doesn't Like You, My Dear Country



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Comments:Add a Comment 
FiveLeavesLeft
Staff Reviewer
March 12th 2013



7825 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Another one done

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2013



6734 Comments


crank dat review : ]

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2013



48524 Comments


sweet

Digging: More Than Life - What's Left Of Me

FiveLeavesLeft
Staff Reviewer
March 12th 2013



7825 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I think this is the first time I've ever reviewed twice in one day... ah well, it was fun to shit out another one : )

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2013



6734 Comments


Welcome to, my world.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2013



18577 Comments


rise of the planet of the contributors

Digging: Somos - Temple of Plenty

FiveLeavesLeft
Staff Reviewer
March 12th 2013



7825 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

;D

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2013



18577 Comments


lol i saw rise of the planet of the apes the other night and i couldn't help myself ;)
seriously there were like 10 contrib reviews posted last night!

FiveLeavesLeft
Staff Reviewer
March 12th 2013



7825 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah, that was the point :P

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2013



18577 Comments


ha wish i could have joined the action... I actually had a dream last night that i got a ghost promotion then ..well i woke up lol

FiveLeavesLeft
Staff Reviewer
March 12th 2013



7825 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Don't worry bro, it'll come around. Just keep reviewing new stuff and getting features and such and it'll eventuate

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2013



18577 Comments


thanks for the encouragement. Sometimes new releases just don't appeal to me as much though. I'm always discovering great albums but they're usually older lol.

FiveLeavesLeft
Staff Reviewer
March 12th 2013



7825 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

That's actually the reason I left my other reviewing site, I couldn't handle only reviewing new stuff
all the time. :P That's why I alternate between new and old releases

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2013



18577 Comments


Nice I hear you. I'll try and review new releases more often if u think that will help my chances ;)

Ecnalzen
March 12th 2013



5848 Comments


I need to get me some more Norah Jones. I just picked up The Fall not too long ago, and I am really liking it. I think I like it even more than her debut.

FiveLeavesLeft
Staff Reviewer
March 12th 2013



7825 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@Atari: Trust me, it does. Get features goes a long way.

@Ecnalzen: Yeah, The Fall's good. I'd say Come Away with Me and Little Broken Hearts are tied for my favorite Jones album. This, sadly, was the weakest for me

Ecnalzen
March 12th 2013



5848 Comments


I can never seem to get a hold of an album fast enough to be the first to review it and then see if I can get a feature. It takes me too damn long to write something up, lol.

I think I am going to pick up Little Broken Hearts next. Do you think this is still worth picking up or is it too much of a retread?

Edit: Nvm, I just read through your review. You sum it up pretty well in the last sentence, lol.

FiveLeavesLeft
Staff Reviewer
March 12th 2013



7825 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I actually wrote a review of Little Broken Hearts late last year
http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/52513/Norah-Jones-Little-Broken-Hearts/

And yes, it is fantastic. If anything, it's Jones's biggest departure. There's barely a trace of jazz
anymore, and it instead goes for Regina Spektor-style indie pop. Really good stuff, and way more
upbeat

Ecnalzen
March 12th 2013



5848 Comments


Few things I saw...

"...opening highlight "Wish I Could" and the dark, eerie "Not My Friend really..."

Just missing a “ after Not My Friend.

"Again, though, this doesn't make up for the fact..."

This is probably just a style preference, but the ‘though’ feels a little unnecessary to me. I think the 'again' can stand on it's own to show that you don't feel the positives completely outweigh the negatives here.

This is a great read. I feel very informed right now. Ha, yeah I think that review is actually what turned me back on to her. I have always thought she was interesting but never took the time to try her music out past the singles.


FiveLeavesLeft
Staff Reviewer
March 12th 2013



7825 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks for the feedback! Just adjusted those things and edited a few other points. Yeah, this album is just not engaging in any way. If you thought Come Away with Me had its boring moments, this takes those moments to a ridiculous level



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