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Norah Jones - The Fall

Norah Jones, The Fall

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THE Fall marks a watershed in the career of Norah Jones. It’s her first minus New York jazzers The Handsome Band and is very much a long-player steeped in loss.

Jones parted company with The Handsome Band after the demise of her relationship with bassist Lee Alexander and the repurcussions seem to have had a lasting effect.

A voice formerly renowned for honey-dued tendencies and jazzy breeziness is now much more drenched in melancholy.

Lyrically, too, the album charts some quite downbeat territory… albeit in a beguiling, classy manner befitting Jones’ popularity.

Hence, The Fall becomes a fascinating listen, as well as a good one. It’s a collection of songs that lays Jones’ heart open and you can’t help but want to listen to what she has to say.

Tracks like the sparse, stripped back Waiting, for instance, find her “waiting for you to come home” and humming thoughtfully, as though not quite convinced the end has arrived for the relationship.

While the guitar accompanied I Wouldn’t Need You opens with the lament: “If I touched myself the way you touched me, if I could hold myself the way you held me, then I wouldn’t need you to love me…” As delivered in Jones’ tender, vulnerable style, it cries out with anguish and loss.

Yet it’s a measure of Jones’ consumate skill as a performer that she doesn’t ever seem bitter, spiteful or vengeful. Where some break-up albums are all about sticking it to the ex, The Fall is more about taking a look at one’s self.

It feels more personal, more open and more charming as a result, while proving there is more to Jones’ songwriting and delivery than has previously been suggested in her long-players thus far.

That’s not to say there aren’t moments with a little more passion and fire to them… It’s Gonna Be picks up the percussion, takes pot-shots at critics, drops some fuzzy guitars and hammond organs and generally inspires.

Tell Her Mama, meanwhile, has a mid-tempo, rollicking country style slant that’s more energetic than most, while album opener Chasing Pirates nicely combines a smart back-beat with some short, sharp organ bursts that provide a really smooth accompaniment to Jones’ lush vocals.

In spite of such crowd-pleasing moments, though, it’s the more desolate, lonely offerings that really resonate and make you warm to Jones even more.

Songs like Even Though, You’ve Ruined Me and December showcase a heartbreak that’s undeniable, yet she emerges all the stronger for it.

The Fall is therefore an enchanting and beguiling listen that, quite possibly, marks Jones finest moment yet.

View Norah Jones photos

Download picks: Chasing Pirates, Even Though, I Wouldn’t Need You, Waiting, It’s Gonna Be, You’ve Ruined Me, December

Track listing:

  1. Chasing Pirates
  2. Even Though
  3. Light As A Feather
  4. Young Blood
  5. I Wouldn’t Need You
  6. Waiting
  7. It’s Gonna Be
  8. You’ve Ruined Me
  9. Back To Manhattan
  10. Stuck
  11. December
  12. Tell Yer Mama
  13. Man Of The Hour