Norah Jones- Little Broken Hearts REVIEW

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.

Norah Jones- “Happy Pills”

The first track from Norah Jones’ upcoming album, …Little Broken Hearts, has shown up. The album is produced by Danger Mouse, who previously worked with Jones on Rome last year.

“Happy Pills” is a bluesy number with Jones crooning in her usual style and it fits really well with the easy blues guitar and catchy hook that could only have come out from Danger Mouse. It’s not a fantastic track, but I can’t wait hear the rest of … Little Broken Hearts when it gets released on May 1st via Blue Note/EMI.

… Little Broken Hearts tracklist:

01. Good Morning
02. Say Goodbye
03. Little Broken Hearts
04. She’s 22
05. Take It Back
06. After The Fall
07. 4 Broken Hearts
08. Travelin’ On
09. Out On The Road
10. Happy Pills
11. Miriam
12. All A Dream

“Happy Pills”

Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi- Rome REVIEW

Danger Mouse is bound to go down as one of the greats of our time. He’s worked with The Black Keys, Beck, and The Gorillaz. He’s also one half of Broken Bells as well as one half of Gnarls Barkley. Oh yeah, and he mashed up Jay Z’s The Black Album with The Beatles’s The White Album to create The Grey Album, one of the most popular mash-ups ever created.

Now, he’s created another distinct record. This time with the help of Daniele Luppi, who’s worked with Broken Bells, John Legend and The Sex & The City score. Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi have brought us Rome, an epic album that brings back the massive sounds of Italian spaghetti westerns scores (think Ennio Morricone’s score to A Fistful of Dollars or The Good, The Bad and The Ugly) 

Big strings and choirs are found all over Rome, and the atmosphere is heavy indeed. The strong marching drum beat on the opener, “Theme From Rome” is a great place to start the journey. You feel like you’re stuck in a desert, just like Eastwood’s Man with No Name. The Man with No Name gets a voice on this record, and Jack White is just the right guy for the job. White’s vocals are rough and sexy on “Two Against One”. Here, White proves himself to be the only man worthy of this project.

The female vocals are done by Norah Jones, who carries herself in the best way that she can, given her songs. There’s no doubt that Jones’s voice is great, you can hear it all over her 2010 album The Fall. But of the few times she shows up, one of the songs, “Season’s Trees”, is just boring. Not even Jones can save the song from being unmemorable. Luckly, Jones gets a better track to show off her voice with the sexy track “Black”.

Rome is the lost film score to the film that never saw the light of day. With it’s instrumental interludes that are perfectly sequenced into the album, this record is more about building a mood, or a backdrop than telling a story. If you were expecting a big concept album, you won’t find it here.

While Rome shows it’s influences in older film scores, lots of the songs here, thanks to White and Jones, fit in with music being right now. Although Jones could have been given stronger tracks and White could have shown up more than the time he was given, they are the only people who could really pull this off.

Rome shows it’s epic scale with no shame and it’s better because of it. The old fashioned film score sound works better than you think it should, and it holds up. Yet, for an album this epic, it’s criminally short. Clocking in at a little over half an hour. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly went on for three hours, and with Rome we get 35 minutes. Director’s cut?

Rating: 7.1 out of 10.