One of the catchiest tracks on here is “Life Is Better” with Q-Tip. Norah holds her own with all the divas and throwaway pop stars of the day that cut similar records. Norah’s calm vocal sway highlights and complements Q-Tip’s lyrical list of the genres' best over the years. This one is sure to get your head bobbing as the beat thumps along to Q-Tip’s rhyme and Norah’s chorus. Life is better since I’ve heard this joint.
Continuing to make rhyme pay Norah brings her sublime vocals to hook up with Talib Kweli and his flawless flow to float “Soon The New Day” to your ears. And in your head is where it gets caught and lingers until the “new day breaks the dawn,” which isn’t bad as this slow turn brings to mind some old-school funk and, to some extent, the slow keyboard work of The Doors. That’s right listen close and you’ll hear it. Think the chiming, creepy drip-like sounds at the end of “Riders On The Storm” and of An American Prayer’s “Feast Of Friends.”
...Featuring also highlights Norah’s work with legends and heavy-hitters like Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, Herbie Hancock, Dolly Parton, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Brother Ray and sister Norah are a perfect match on “Here We Go Again,” which finds Ray at his usual best working out a country/soul number. Norah and Willie on the other hand turn in a rather creepy version of the winter classic “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” I’m sure on any other standard they would match up way better, but here it's beyond naughty and could easily cross over to freaky. But oddly fun none the less.
Then there’s the rollicking country fun of Norah and Dolly on “Creepin’ In,” sounding like it's straight from a Little Willies session; you can tell longtime partner Lee Alexander is slappin’ and pluckin’ the bass strings. While the Dirty Dozen Brass Band with Robert Randolph on pedal steel guitar bring her “Ruler Of My Heart” and add a horn-filled, classic soul sounding number to the mix.
“Court & Spark” with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter is pure jazz, from its midway breakdown to its seven-minute run time. Heavy piano, jutting sax, plucky bass, brush drums, and Norah’s timing and smooth vocal drop-down fill this out wonderfully; Norah feels at home with jazz and holds her own with these icons of the genre.