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Norah Jones: The Fall

B

Norah Jones

Album: The Fall
Label: Blue Note

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Overwhelming popularity can do a number on an artist. Nirvana’s success resulted in what is arguably the band’s best album, In Utero, but also likely hastened Kurt Cobain’s downward spiral. Like Nirvana, jazz singer Norah Jones is the rare diamond-selling artist: Her 2002 debut, Come Away With Me, has sold more than 10 million copies. Unlike Cobain, Jones has found success liberating. She has been prolific, releasing two albums under her own name and forming two bands, the country-minded Little Willies and the more raucous El Madmo. She’s even tried acting. All of this speaks to a desire for experience and experimentation. With her latest, The Fall, Jones makes her biggest push to brush away the coffeehouse connotations of her early work. The Fall is a concept album with a punchline, with most of the songs detailing the push and pull of a faltering relationship. Several, including the first single, “Chasing Pirates,” explore confusion and uncertainty. Others celebrate reconciliation. In “I Wouldn’t Need You,” Jones implores her lover to return; then in “Back To Manhattan,” she’s the one returning. By the penultimate song, “Tell Yer Mama,” Jones has cut her man loose, her kiss-off made bitterer by her critique of his parents. The album’s punchline is “Man Of The Hour,” a cute, spare song about how the only man for her is her dog.