by: L. Uigi
“LITTLE BROKEN HEARTS” is a little different for Nora Jones, yet nothing drastically so. She probably said it best herself when she mentioned that the ‘Producer’, DANGER MOUSE, took her out of her “known zone”, but she didn’t feel out of her “comfort zone”. Different elements like ‘tremolo’ throughout much of the album, gives a little flavor of perhaps the ‘spagetti western sound’ of the 60’s. A sound that a producer like ‘T BONE BURNETT’ might use, or a musical artist in the vein of ‘CHRIS ISAAK’, especially his earlier work. With that said, I would love to see ‘JONES’ & ‘ISAAK’ work together; that would be a great match. This album is not so much the rather quiet jazz album that her 1st mega hit, “COME AWAY WITH ME” was.
Shall we mention by the way what a ‘huge’ hit that became! After a rather slow start, 2002’s “COME AWAY WITH ME” album grabbed ‘8’ Grammy’s at the 2003 awards show. ‘Five’ went to “Nora Jones” alone. They were: *BEST NEW ARTIST; *ALBUM OF THE YEAR; *BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM; *BEST FEMALE POP VOCAL, for ‘DON’T KNOW WHY’ from the album; and *RECORD OF THE YEAR, for the Single, ‘DON’T KNOW WHY’. The other ‘ 3 ‘ awards were: *BEST ENGINEERED ALBUM-Non Classical; *PRODUCER OF THE YEAR(Arif Mardin); and *SONG OF THE YEAR(Jessie Harris); for ‘DON’T KNOW WHY’. -Also, it’s become the biggest selling U.S. album of the last decade. U.S. sales total nearly ” 11 Million” according to Billboard. WORLDWIDE sales stand at “22.5 Million”. Yet, Nora remains humble about it saying that she thought it might sale around ” 10,000 “!
OK, so “LITTLE BROKEN HEARTS” probably won’t be as big. What could be? That’s a once in a lifetime thing! Still, you can’t keep trying to repeat the same exact sound. And she has said as much, that she didn’t want to repeat the same formula.She’s made it fresh and interesting by changing things up a bit. And yet there’s familiarity too. Listen to the beautiful, soothing sound of “MIRIAM”. The prettiest song on the album, could have very easily fit on “COME AWAY WITH ME”. However, the lyrics of betrayal belie the caressing, comforting feeling of the music. A little dark. Elsewhere you’ll find some tunes that are more upbeat musically & lyrically. In other words, there’s versatility to this project & experimenting with the textures, without going too far.
This is a very good, solid collection of songs, that you’ll get more out of the more times you listen to it. Of course there’s varying opinions as you can read here. Like they say: [“Opinions, – everybody’s got one”!] If you like NORA’S voice, there are no drastic enough changes that change that. The ‘voice’ is still there front a center. The music here never “overwhelms” her voice. It only complements it in a little different setting.