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Norah Jones – Pick Me Up Off The Floor

June 30, 2020

I was a Norah Jones fan even before I knew who she was – I was hooked by the cover of Roxy Music’s “More Than This” she did with guitarist Charlie Hunter on his 2001 release Songs from the Analog Playground. I was an early adopter of Jones. On the strength of her work with Charlie Hunter. I bought her debut Come Away With Me on release day in early 2002. That album eventually sold 27 million copies. So a rare moment where I was ahead of the wave.

Norah Jones never let the fame or success get to her head. She never planned to be a pop star. She has pursued her North Star under her own name, in side-projects, and in countless guest appearances. She is a musician’s musician, yet she is highly accessible and easy to listen to – deceptively easy listening – so much so that she has been nicknamed “Snorah Jones.” But don’t be deceived, there is a lot of depth to Jones’ music. Pick Me Up Off The Floor is an example of that depth.

Jones is quoted in Rolling Stone:

“Living in this country — this world — the last few years, I think there’s an underlying sense of, ‘Lift me up. Let’s get up out of this mess and try to figure some things out,’” she said. “If there’s a darkness to this album, it’s not meant to be an impending sense of doom, if feels more like a human longing for connection. Some of the songs that are personal also apply to the larger issues we’re all facing. And some of the songs that are about very specific larger things also feel quite personal.”

Jones writes or co-writes all the songs on this album. Her old buddy Jeff Tweedy returns for a couple of songs – he was involved in a couple of songs off her last album Begin Again. Tweedy and Jones are a match made in heaven. Not just because I am a fan of both – their styles really mesh. Check out the song “I’m Alive” – it is a perfect duet without Tweedy singing a verse.

This album has a sadness that is pretty timely. Her vocal styling has aged well over time. It has transitioned from innocence to a beautiful world-weary vibe, but it is not hopeless (from “Stumble On”):

But I’ll kiss the dawn

Of a new day

And then I’ll stumble on

My way

This album is the fruition of all that Jones has been working on over career: she has developed as a songwriter, the experimentation has become her natural style, and her voice is self-assured. She is in complete control of her art. The results are magnificent – Jones has fully blossomed.

From → Music Reviews

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