The Fall (Blue Note)
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Nov. 27, 2009
Norah JonesThe Fall (Blue Note)
Breakups have long brought out the best in singer-songwriters. With longtime collaborator Lee Alexander no longer in the picture, Norah Jones relies on a host of co-writers, including Ryan Adams and especially producer Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Modest Mouse) to change direction, and the result is her most sonically challenging to date. Jones' ever-sultry voice never rises to a scream, but King brings gauzy soundscapes and altered instruments to add an edge to the disc that allows for repeat listening. Most interesting is "Stuck," a co-write with Okkervil River's Will Sheff, which highlights Jones' new penchant for guitar and percolates like Aimee Mann visiting the East Coast. From the pop radio bounce of "Chasing Pirates" to "Man of the Hour," a bluesy ode to a dog, The Fall offers many new sides to Jones while remaining comfortably close to the jazz diva many adore.