Honestly, Norah Jones has never done much for me. Although her accomplishments as a Grammy winning artist who regularly tops the charts are admirable, I had always relegated her to Barnes and Noble soundtracks. Vocally, she doesn’t move me. She makes me sleepy. And then the laid back, coffee house trappings drive me further into an impromptu nap. This opinion came with one exception. Her contributions to the Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi produced album “Rome,” were lovely and fitting with its atmospheric and melancholy vibe. So, when I heard she was reuniting with Danger Mouse (aka Brian Burton) to construct a new album, I was bemused.
Despite my disenchantment with Norah, I had implicit faith in Danger Mouse’s producing skills. Honestly, between Gnarls Barkley, ‘The Grey Album”, “Rome”, and his collaborations with The Black Keys, I knew this couldn’t possibly be all bad.
So, I bought the CD. The actual, physical CD. Now that, my friends, is faith.
As a whole, “Little Broken Hearts” is a continuous stream of sorrowful and moody and almost continues that melancholy feel from “Rome”. Truthfully, it suits Jones. This slightly crazed and admittedly homicidal side of Norah is so much more interesting than the tunes I had previously heard over the speakers of Starbucks. Here is an album that actually goes some place musically. The listener can recognize the bitter pangs of a breakup in the lyrical content which at times, takes far darker turns which remind me more of Burton’s projects with Cee-Lo Green than Jones. Somehow that airy, almost lazy sounding voice whispering to “Miriam” and her impending doom at the singer’s hands are surprisingly frightening.
I give this album a rating of “Wholly Worthy of Your Time.” Standout tracks include “Miriam”, “After the Fall” and “Happy Pills”.
Go forth and listen! For apparently, Danger Mouse can do no wrong.