tue 18/06/2019

CD: Norah Jones - Little Broken Hearts | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Norah Jones - Little Broken Hearts

CD: Norah Jones - Little Broken Hearts

Easy listening, but easy to love too

Norah Jones's Little Broken Hearts

Well, this is lovely. Low-down-and-lazy country-soul grooves, a bit of Morricone, a bit of Nancy'n'Lee, a sprinkling of Southern Gothic, and through it all Norah Jones's satin voice delivering tidy little narratives tied up in gently insinuating melodic hooks. Jones has been accused many times of making latterday easylistening, music that's nothing more than analgesic, but there's always been more too her than that. 

Yes, sometimes it's just sweet whimsy, but as often as not, there's a bittersweet tang to the simple lyrics, a Carver short story sense of offstage drama. It could be tempting to say that it's got a “Lynchian” undertow, too – after all, producer / co-writer Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton has previously collaborated with David Lynch himself, and there's more than a hint of Chris Isaak twang to it at times – but really it's not that wilfully dark, just absorbed in the standard painful tangles of life and love, as in the perfectly drawn triangle in the couplet “Does she make you happy? / I'd like to see you happy” (“She's 22”). 

Maybe it is all a bit impeccably tasteful and easy, but in many ways its lightness is its most potent weapon – compared to the endlessly tiresome Lana Del Rey, who clogs up similar source material with clunking trip-hop beats, hamfisted film-noir theatricality and not-being-very-good-at-singing, it floats into the back of your brain rather than battering its way into your immediate attention, and the puzzling musical and emotional memories that linger are all the more valuable for that. To paraphrase John Waters: “Lovely is not enough... but it's a start!”

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Maybe it is all a bit impeccably tasteful and easy, but in many ways its lightness is its most potent weapon.

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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