7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Quite Good and Worth Your Money,
This review is from: Come Away with Me (Audio CD)
As someone who listens mostly to the music of men who died before he was born, the appearance of Norah Jones - pop icon, legitimate jazz artist, and only a few years older than me - is cause for celebration. Jones, with her sultry voice and almost-gorgeous features, brings a spirit of youth and sex appeal to the long-suffering jazz genre just as she brings refreshing musicianship to popular music.
Jones's debut album is a collection of originals written by her and her sidemen and a few covers. Some are catchy ("Don't Know Why", written by guitarist Jesse Harris), some are fun ("Feelin' the Same Way", by bassist Lee Alexander), and some are plain beautiful ("The Long Day is Over", by Harris and Jones). All are greatly enhanced by the outstanding session men, Brian Blade, Adam Levy, and Kevin Breit. Jazz legend Bill Frisell unfortunately appears on only one track, but his inimitable playing helps make "The Long Day is Over" the high point of the album. Jones's voice is tremendous throughout, and her piano work is simple but elegant.
Some of the criticisms that have been leveled at this album are unfair. The songs are not all of the same tempo; Though it is true that the songs on this album are mostly of a moderate pace, Jones does well with the more uptempo numbers (eg "Feelin' the Same Way") and the slower ones ("Come Away with Me"). She also does very well with songs that are in unusual time signatures, like "The Long Day is Over" (6/8) and "The Nearness of You" (12/8). One reviewer mentioned that the song "Turn Me On" sounds a lot like a Leonard Cohen song ("Bird on a Wire"). I agree; but as "Turn Me On" is a cover, this is does not show Jones to be derivative.
My only real complaint is that the middle third of this album just isn't as strong as the rest of it. "Come Away with Me" and "Shoot the Moon" aren't the strongest songs on the album, and "Turn Me On" pales in comparison to "Cold Cold Heart" and "The Nearness of You". Additionally, the lyrics are weak in places.
Be that as it may, this album is a breath of fresh air in the stale music industry. At its best moments, this album is as beautiful as anything that has been released in years. Norah Jones is going nowhere but up, which is a very good thing.