Norah Jones: Feels Like Home

Norah Jones: Feels Like Home

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Norah Jones

Album: Feels Like Home
Label: Blue Note

Sometimes, when artists make their debut to massive success, it's because they give the world a sound it's never heard before. Other times, it's because they give the world back a sound it couldn't remember how much it needed. Norah Jones' 2002 debut Come Away With Me snowballed its way into permanent rotation in after-hours dorm rooms, moms' cars, and coffeehouses by balancing the sound of Jones' jazz-steeped voice with songwriting that looked beyond standards for inspiration. Sounding remarkably assured from the first note, Jones proved herself as capable of breathing new life into a familiar Hoagy Carmichael tune as she was of introducing new tracks, like the eventually inescapable "Don't Know Why." Technically skilled, but content never to oversell a song, Jones made for immediately pleasant company, as she let the emotional richness of her material reveal itself across repeat listens. Feels Like Home, Jones' sophomore effort, successfully continues in the same vein: It should neither shock old fans nor disappoint those hoping to hear her reach for more. For the former, there are sweet Jones originals (co-written with bassist Lee Alexander) like "Sunrise," as well as "Toes," which is sung so happily, it takes a look at the lyrics to realize that it's a song about avoiding the depths. For the latter, there's a remarkably natural-sounding duet with Dolly Parton, as well as a cover of the Tom Waits gem "The Long Way Home"; these tracks don't showcase Jones' range so much as the ease with which she brings songs into her orbit. The album closes with "Don't Miss You At All," which pairs a new lyric to Duke Ellington's "Melancholia," resulting in a song slow and simple enough for anyone to sing. It takes a rare talent like Jones, however, to present the title sentiment as wishful thinking, and maybe even a soul-deep lie.

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