I have said this before: there are times when the music chooses me. The subject of today’s listening session was not only never in doubt, it was never in my control. After purchasing Norah Jones’ Not Too Late this past Tuesday morning, I have dropped into a state of stunned and abject awe. So stunned in fact, that we’re not going to make it past the first two songs. Partly because there will be more reviews to follow from me and my Mondo brethren, but mostly because I can’t get “Wish I Could” and “Sinkin’ Soon” out of my head.
“Wish I Could” is a sad and intense waltz, telling the story of the paths that lovers cross, and the tragedy that weaves them together. Norah’s voice is put in stark relief by the sparse instrumentation of acoustic guitars and both pizzicato and bowed cellos. I’m telling you, when Norah’s own harmonies fade in on the line “She says, ‘love in the time of war is not fair'”, I am gone. I could listen to this song on repeat for the rest of the day. I might even do that, except for “Sinkin’ Soon.”
If Norah were to write a song for Tom Waits, this would be it. A jaunty, swaggering thing, “Sinkin’ Soon” is the kind of tune that will surprise most people. I’m wasn’t totally taken off guard by this because at the Norah show I attended a few years ago, she threatened to break into some Led Zeppelin…and I’m certain that she wasn’t kidding.
Not Too Late finds Norah with writing or co-writing credits on every selection. There were more than a few people out there who viewed her previous material selections as a crutch of sorts, and expectation were that this release had true sophomore slump potential. Given Norah’s huge success, there were also those waiting for the supposedly inevitable fall. No, not this time. Not Too Late is the best thing Jones has ever done. I more than a little shocked to be typing those words, but it’s true.
In fact, even though we’re only at the start of February, I can’t imagine that any artist is going to top this record. There, I’ve said it: Norah Jones – Not Too Late: Album of the Year. I pledge that if I have to go back on this statement I’ll….uhm…I dunno…..I’ll buy a Justin Timberlake CD.Powered by Sidelines