Norah Jones' fourth album sounds practically the same as her first, second and third albums; her so-called 'new direction' is nowhere to be heard on these gentle piano/guitar based lounge songs. What's the point anymore?
Flamin' Norah - we don't know how to take you these days. You came into our lives with a charming little album of silky-smooth piano tunes that were as likely to appeal to your granny or your dad as they were to you. You spearheaded a movement of 'cosy night in' music that meant your CDs might as well have been packaged with bubble bath, candles and bottles of red wine - but we forgave you for it, Norah. What we can't forgive you for is the fact that you've tried to wring three successive albums out of the exact same style, with little to no variation.
How did you manage to rope in Ryan Adams and Will Sheff of Okkervil River as co-writers on your fourth album, Norah? Both musicians are relatively well-respected in their field, but any spark of their creativity has been numbed by the trademark gentle plod of your music. Adams' contribution, 'Light as a Feather', is one of the more 'serious' in tone, and while it ticks over nicely, it's just a little too smooth to matter. Sheff co-penned 'Stuck', but apart from some chiming guitar distortion, it's no better than elevator music.
Norah, there's just nothing here to sink our teeth into. These songs - apart from the quasi-bluesy shake-up of 'I'm Gonna Be' - are too bland to make a difference, even to those who have already been spellbound by your admittedly lovely voice. It's hard to pick out the individual flaws of an album that is simply generally boring. I dunno, Norah. Maybe we should have run a bubble bath and poured a glass of rouge to fully immerse ourselves?