Saturday, April 11, 2015

Song #511 of 9999 - 4 Broken Hearts by Norah Jones

Song #511 of 9999

Title: 4 Broken Hearts
Artist: Norah Jones
Year: 2012
Album: Little Broken Hearts

About a year and a half ago, I heard an interview on NPR with Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day and Norah Jones, who were promoting their collaboration Foreverly, a recreation of a 1958 album by The Everly Brothers. They seemed like such an odd duo but I could not deny how well their voices blended and their tribute to Don and Phil Everly was genuine and, I think, good! (I'll check it out next week when I get to 2013.)

I didn't give this much thought until I stumbled upon Little Broken Hearts while researching music for this blog. Ten years removed from Come Away With Me, which spawned the light jazz mega-hit "Don't Know Why," Norah Jones is sounding like a whole new person. Not better, just different. Engaging with another odd counterpart, producer Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse), Jones produced a breakup album which showcases the smokiness in her voice in a moody indie rock setting. I love this quote from Daily Telegraph writer Helen Brown who wrote: "In the past decade, it seems Jones has made a sneaky transition from dinner party backdrop to David Lynch soundtrack."

Too bad the songs aren't better. I sampled all the tracks and "4 Broken Hearts" is the only one that held my attention for very long. But it's still nice to see an artist taking chances and kudos to Blue Note for releasing the record, which could not be classified as jazz by anyone's definition. (Of course, Blue Note probably doesn't have many new releases that sell a million copies worldwide so I guess it wasn't exactly a risk for them, other than to their reputation.) If nothing else, I can say with certainty that Ravi Shankar's daughter (who knew!) has stirred my interest for the first time in a decade and that's worth something.

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