Home / The Friday Morning Listen: Norah Jones – Not Too Late

The Friday Morning Listen: Norah Jones – Not Too Late

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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.

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About Mark Saleski

  • Well, dangit, I don’t like the “fancier” photo. But I’ve already committed my $9.99 to the deluxe (from Bestbuy.com – some special online-only deal, but I’m picking it up in-store to save the wait and, of course, the money on the in-store price.)

  • Okay, that’s it; I’ve got to buy this album!

  • Mark Saleski

    tom, the artwork for the deluxe edition is on a slipcase. the ‘fancier’ photo is under that.

  • Ha! The image of Sir Mark bopping along to JT is amusing.

    So, are you saying I really need to go out and get this CD now?

    I havn’t heard a lot of Norah Jones, but what I have heard was damn good.

  • I still have yet to find something of Norah’s that properly grabs me and makes me need to own something of hers, but maybe this is the one, judging by the clips I’m listening to. I may have to grab this while the deluxe edition is still relatively cheap.

    “Sinkin’ Soon” absolutely sounds like it was written for or by Waits.

    And what’s up with the artwork? The regular edition looks like something shot for a magazine, not an album cover. The deluxe artwork is great. It reminds me of the art for Chris Vrenna’s Tweaker project, actually.

  • It’s always strange to me that there seem to be people out there rooting for musicians to fail. There is already so much crap out there, why would you be hoping for more? Wouldn’t another great Norah record (and this one most assuredly is) be better than a lousy one?

    I don’t care how popular an act gets, I’ll still always hope they create something better.

  • Mark Saleski

    dang, i forgot about the Bruce factor.

  • Theres also still an outside shot at a Bruce/E Street Band record this year. If that materializes, you have to figure it for a contender. Of course, Norah did beat out The Rising for a Grammy last time around didn’t she?


    P.S. Fear the Timberlake Mark. Be afraid, be very afraid…

  • Mark Saleski

    Chinese Democracy….i’ve got enough beer coasters at home.

  • “There, I’ve said it: Norah Jones – Not Too Late: Album of the Year.”

    In contrast, I work a little slow. But I think I’m almost ready to come up with a Best of 2005 list, lol.

    As to the album in question, I concur that it’s her best. Really, it’s not even close. But 11 months is a long time for a record to come along and outdo it. Heck, Chinese Democracy might come out in that time ;&)