Stop the presses: Norah Jones is trying something new. With a combined 36 million CDs sold and her three previous releases multi-platinum, one might argue that she can afford to experiment. But give her credit. She could stick to her sleepy after-hours balladry forever and disappoint virtually no one—except maybe herself. Restless, she’s shuffled the deck. Not that The Fall (Blue Note) is a radical departure; her rich voice is beguiling whether her cadence is fast or slow. But on this album, she has co-written with Ryan Adams and Okkervil River’s Will Sheff, enlisted producer Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Kings of Leon), rounded up a new band, and prodded her drummers to pound out some actual (gasp!) tempos. She even straps on an electric guitar. The venture is not wholly successful—there’s a dirge or two and one song drenched in more cheesy electronics than a seventies porn score. Yet while Jones will never completely let her hair down, damned if she doesn’t come close. It’s not a stretch to call “It’s Gonna Be” a rocker, and overall, as both a writer and a singer, Jones seems to have really woken up.
The latest album from Norah Jones.
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