Norah Jones didn’t interest me very much with her first three albums, they were too soft and rooted in lounge jazz for me to enjoy. While there was nothing wrong with those first two albums, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Then in 2009, Norah Jones put out The Fall where she added some guitars to the mix and made a very solid album. Last year, she was featured on Danger Mouse’s project Rome and gave some of her best vocals yet.
Now, Jones is collaborating with Danger Mouse again on Little Broken Hearts. This is the album that should start to win over people who though of Jones as too soft for their tastes. Danger Mouse is working with many of the same sounds that he’s always worked in and many of the dusty, western qualities of Rome show up here. Norah Jones’s voice might come out as too sweet at times, but she really does have a fantastic voice and it works well under these heavier tracks.
The single, “Happy Pills”, rocks like a Black Keys track with it’s catchy guitars. “Say Goodbye” has some really thick bass, and Norah’s voice somehow really works with the slightly gritty sound. The opener, “Good Morning” is very sweet with the light guitars and keyboards that gets another layer added to it as the song continues, giving the song a really nice atmosphere.
There’s some really thick atmosphere on “Little Broken Hearts” with some Morricone styled guitars, it would have worked really well on Rome. “She’s 22″ is a nice country song but it’s just a little too sweet at times. A song like this should have been really heartbreaking with it’s topic of breaking up with somebody but Jones isn’t capable of singing with any register other than sweet. Although there’s some really dark and atmospheric moments, Jones keeps everything from getting too deep with her voice. I’m not sure if this is a bad thing or not. Little Broken Hearts shows Jones gaining some muscle to her sound and making her best album yet, but she has plenty of room left to grow as an artist.
Rating: 6.8 out of 10.