The Fall is supposed to be an experimental record for Norah Jones and though I hear some country and some varying arrangements throughout, I hear many similarities to 2006’s Not Too Late. Both albums I adore for their sultry, somnolent qualities. Yes, that’s a good thing. Mellow, soothing music heals the heart. It reaches the soul. Jones methodically reveals her emotions through each song. She’s carefully crafted this album. The appeal of Jones is her bluesy, sultry moodiness and her moments of lilting purity. She’s not easy to categorize: not a pop singer, not a jazz singer, not R&B, not blues. Jones does succeed to combine all the best elements of each of those genres for her own signature sound. Jones wrote the majority of her songs and there’s an aching, longing and loneliness running through many of the songs. Stories of lying and cheating men, unfulfilling love and self-doubt. And Jones sings it all with aching maturity, wisdom and elegance. Singing with longing and tinges of regret on “I Wouldn’t Need You” Jones sings: If I could replace/ The things you gave me/ If I could see my face/ Without the tragedy/ Then I wouldn’t need you/ No I wouldn’t need you/ No I wouldn’t need you/ To love me/ But I do. “You Ruined Me” is a country-laced confession: You’ve ruined me now/ Though I liked it/ Now, I’m ruined/ I’m trying to part/ With what’s in my heart/ You’ve ruined me and how/ I thought I liked it/ And haven’t we all been here on the luscious, swirling “Stuck:’ Why can’t it be easy?/ Easy?/ Why don’t you leave?/Leave me?/Leave me be?/I can see you swaying/ I can’t hear what you’re saying/I’m sitting here stuck/ And plastered to my seat/ I think up a reason to leave/ when you finally stop speaking/ I’ll take a long slow/ Walk down Washington Street. On her last song, the vaudeville-inspired “Man of the Hour,” she honors the one who many never cheat on her or hurt her: her dog.
For anyone who’s been in love, wants love or has had a broken heart, The Fall will surely mend some wounds while you cry through the pain. That’s the power and wonder of music. That’s why music is such an essential aspect of my life.
–review by Amy Steele
[review copy courtesy of Blue Note]