Personally, Iíve never been able to rest with that fact that I got into watching music videos so late in life. Not only do they serve as an outlet for new music, but most are fairly entertaining. But When I did finally begin watching videos one woman always haunted my dreams of Yellowcard and Nickelback. That little bitch Norah Jones (yes, I did watch a lot of VH1). At the time I had no idea how to comprehend Jazz music. To me it was boring and unfulfilling. I had no respect for the simplicity of a nice full acoustic bass or a calm drum beat. The talent it took someone like Miles Davis to write epics like Bitchís Brew went write over my head. I was much more into classic rock and pop-punk stuff. Little did I know a few years later I would sit down in front of my computer to begin writing a review for that very woman, Norah Jones.
Revivals of forgotten musical styles have always been a part of pop music. There has been revivals of ska, swing, punk, classic rock, garage rock and R&B to name a few, but perhaps the most annoying of all the revivals is the revival of the 1930ís staple known as Crooning. It gave birth to plenty of middle age hot flashes, including Josh Groban, Michael Buble and a whole squadron of pathetic American idol contestants. But perhaps the most talented and universally celebrated of those artists is the insurmountable Norah Jones. Not only does she combine pop, folk, soul, blues and jazz, but she does it in a contemporary fashion and looks pretty damn hot doing it. Her striking debut record, Come Away with Me may have solidified her as the coolest woman in jazz since Billie Holiday.
The album begins with Norahís massive hit, Donít Know Why. Live drums had long since fallen out of the pop spotlight by the time of this release, but Norahís single brings them back in a surprisingly beautiful fashion. The drums are played in the traditional cool jazz fashion, using brushes. Anyone who denies having heard this song probably doesnít know what he/she is talking about ďAnd I donít know why, I didnít callĒ Norah sings in the chorusís main hook.
Norahís voice is one of a small number that can appeal to many different groups of people. It has the contemporary attitude of Britney Spearsí mixed with the consistency and flavor of Sinatraís well known croon. While she has no dive-bomb solos or heart-wrenching screams like one might hope for, her voice is still considered one of the best around today. Itís original and mellow and fits in perfectly with the atmosphere her band creates for her. Acoustic bass, soft drums and Norahís jazzy piano make up the majority of the songs on Come Away with Me. For a jazz band Norahís band does what is expected of them. They back up Ms. Jonesí vocals but donít over power them. What is so striking about this record could just be the sheer volume of the vocals. They are tens of decibels above anything else, something no one really does these days. This fact gives the music a cool retro vibe and along with the new school sound quality that makes for a wonderfully clean and powerful sound.
Songs like ďLonestarĒ show Norahís jazzy vibe mixed with some alternative melodies, while songs like the albumís title track stick to very standard jazz melodies. Some may call the record boring, but so be it. For a fan of Jazz, pop or folk every song sounds different and wonderful. Some mix in foreign vibes through staccato guitars and mellow backing vocals ( Iíve Got to See You Again) while others show off strictly Norahís lyrical value over soft, slow music (Painterís Song)
Not surprisingly enough Norah was born into a family of music. Her father was sitar guru, Ravi Shankar. Ravi is widely known as the man to show the Beatles the wonders of Indian music. On ďCome AwayĒ Norah unofficially introduces the Beatlesí melodies to even higher heights (Note: I am not saying Norah is better than the Beatles, quite the opposite) her music takes influences, like I stated from many different things and is all the better for it. Overall Norahís debut record is a very cool mellow record, full of romance and mystery while remaining a cozy wholesome organism all in its own. A record for sitting beneath a tree with some one close to you or telling stories by a fire. A record for the whole family (assuming no one has ADD). As much for the mothers as it is for the sons. What ever goal Norah was trying to accomplish with her songwriting she has gotten across to me.
Over all: 3.7/5
Great chill out music
Songwriting is wonderful
Just a tad boring
Been heard (just not in this generation)
No real standout tracks (though some are better than others)