Monday, March 1, 2010

Album review: Norah Jones's The Fall (2009)

Norah-Jones-The-FallThe Fall is unsettling for long times fans of Norah Jones. Her latest album starts like a complete breakaway from the directions of her first two hits albums, ‘Come Away with Me’ and ‘Feels like Home’ yet as it goes the familiars still linger.

The album opens with the lead single ‘Chasing Pirates’, this is a nice song, but the choice of the instruments used to support Norah sultry voice is odd. Use of traditional classical instruments rather than synthesizers would have been better.

Next are ‘Even Though’ and ‘Light As a Feather, now these songs are ruined by whirring strums and strange synthesisers. Both songs used the wrong sort of noise to create the ambience. The noise are not offensive but shame really because these songs would have been great without them noise. To some degree, ‘It’s Gonna Be’ suffers the same problem.

‘Young Blood’ is different story altogether, the electric sounds managed to work cohesively and musically, creating a nice upbeat song. This song is the highlight of the experimentation in this direction, very good and highly enjoyable.

Now tracks like ‘I Wouldn’t Need You’, ‘You’ve Ruined Me’ and ‘Back to Manhattan’ bring back memories of the vintage Norah Jones. ’December’ is the best track of the whole album. Jones traded the piano for the acoustic guitar for this piece and the result is just wonderful to listen. The final track, ‘Man of the Hour’ is probably the inspiration for the cover art of this album. Man’s best friend is the Man of the Hour. It even has the ‘rwoof’ at the end, nice touch.

The limited edition features an extra disc, ‘Live at The Living Room’. It contained live performance recording of ‘It’s Gonna Be’, ‘Waiting’ and ‘You’ve Ruined Me’, as well as cover of ‘Jesus Etc’, ‘Cry, Cry, Cry’ and Strangers. It is a nice bonus, however, a DVD like her previous deluxe edition albums would have been preferred.

The album has acceptable dynamic range despite the use of distorted electronic instruments in the more rock-oriented tracks. Overall, hard to be disappointed with Norah Jones's The Fall, her voice is just silky smooth and very sexy, any annoyance with the ambient noise will become a minor thing once ‘The Fall’ grows on you.

The Fall (Limited Edition)
by Norah Jones
3.5 out of 5 star
Released:November 17, 2009
Label:Blue Note

Track listing
01."Chasing Pirates" 2:40
02."Even Though" 3:52
03."Light As a Feather"3:52
04."Young Blood"3:38
05."I Wouldn't Need You"3:30
07."It's Gonna Be"3:11
08."You've Ruined Me" 2:45
09."Back to Manhattan" 4:09
11."December" 3:05
12."Tell Yer Mama" 3:25
13."Man of the Hour" 2:56
B1."It's Gonna Be" 3:25
B2."Waiting" 3:33
B3."You've Ruined Me" 2:56
B4."Jesus, etc" 3:46
B5."Cry, Cry, Cry" 3:15
B6."Strangers" 3:35

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