Weekend Read: Slightly More Sinister

I met her in 2002, on her first nationwide tour. I’m praying that chain around my neck was an access pass and not bling.

 

She was pretty in a subtle way;  she was very petite, not overly done up.  I bet she would have described herself as ‘honest’, if I would have queried her about her look.

She was at The Hard Rock Cafe  in San Francisco. I think my radio station sponsored the show, so the bad location makes sense to me now.

Interviewing her, she seemed earnest and focused. She answered in soundbites, nothing compelling but still coolly polite. She looked me directly in the eye and never looked away. I liked that.

During her show, some boorish listener (some radio contest winner) who was a few drinks deep was jabbering  during a quiet, melancholy song.

She stopped playing, looked down at Ms. Loudmouth, and said, “I’d appreciate it if you’d either listen to what I’m playing for you or take it outside.”

Nice.  I would have said something much crueler.

The crowd clapped in approval.

Her repertoire is really not my thing- this amalgamation of jazz and adult contemporary mom radio. She sings sweetly, though. This singer/songwriter, stripped down to a voice and a piano, especially with her buttery voice, was pretty intimate and raw- as raw as this genre could be.

Fast forward to 2012.

*The Reinvention Of Norah Jones*

Little Broken Hearts, the latest offering from jazz-pop sensation Norah Jones, is a darker departure from her usual soft, lovelorn fare. It’s been ten years since the release of her blockbuster debut album, Come Away With Me, and her new work is definitely a reinvention, but not radical enough to alienate longtime fans. Her latest album, produced by Danger Mouse, still has the same elevator music quality that made her accessible to a large mainstream audience. However, Little Broken Hearts has a more sinister edge and subtle rock influences making this work more akin to Feist than to Norah Jones of ten years ago. Norah Jones’ commercial success definitely paved the way for songstresses such as Adele, however, this album does not have the same range as 21.

The album’s standout tracks, “Little Broken Hearts”, “She’s 22″, and “Broken Hearts” all share Jones’ sinister-sweet new vocal stylings. The sound created is comparable to Feist meets Holly Golightly at an underground jazz speakeasy. Apart from these gems, the rest of the tracks offer the same run of the mill jazz-pop Jones has made famous.

While Little Broken Hearts is not quite the leap necessary for total reinvention, the album definitely showcases an artist willing to take a step forward.

-mxdwn.com

 

I listened to a bit of Little Broken Hearts.

Meh.

Still really not my thing, but I respect it. I like the notion of a pop songstress evolving, reinventing herself slowly and subtly, revealing the different version of herself in a slowly sinister way, not alienating the base but being true to herself.

Reinvention can be a slow reveal; a  little at a time, so gently that no one but you knows it’s happening. I like the sinister feel of the secret reinvention.

That jerk off boss has no idea what’s coming, does he?

 

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