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Norah Jones - Featuring Norah Jones
With powerful lyrics and soft jazzy-pop tunes, Norah Jones has managed to capture the ears and hearts of listeners since her award-winning debut album Come Away with Me in 2002. Featuring Norah Jones is a compilation that serves as a reminder of the greatest duets that have helped shape this talented singer.
Besides the impressive and diverse array of collaborations with different artists through the eighteen-track album, the music genres are colourful enough to satisfy every taste. Just when everyone thought that Jones had made her mark as a light jazz singer, her new songs are flavoured with surprising alternative rock and country edges.
Formidable duets include the smooth ‘Love Me’ that has Jones’s signature piano tunes featuring The Little Willies, and the award-nominated 2005 hit ‘Virginia Moon’ with the Foo Fighters, an unforgettable piano/guitar collaboration that leaves audiences wondering why they didn’t make more songs together.
Featuring Norah Jones has plenty for country fans. Turning to a more upbeat tempo, ‘Creepin’ In’ with Dolly Parton – the perfect vocal companion to Jones – gives out a gleeful mood. ‘Bull Rider’ and ‘Loretta’ also carry on the country music theme. If some songs appear to pull Jones out of her comfort zone, then it’s clear that the rap duet ‘Soon the New Day’ with Talib Kweli did so the most. Yet, her vocals fit perfectly with Kweli’s and the song doesn't feel out of place.
But was the album fair to Jones? A dedicated fan would have liked to listen to more Norah Jones than other artists on the album; especially when some duets aren’t that good, such as ‘Dear John’. Also, most of the songs aren’t hers; she’s only featured, that’s why it might not be appealing to some fans.
Norah Jones’s music has proven to be more than just another song on a café’s playlist, and although she appears as a supporting artist on this album, it is still a record that highlights the memorable work of an artist that has managed to do so well with a variety of genres.
Just ask Guns ‘n Roses’ Axl Rose or try and listen to any recent Korn album without cringing. Many bands quit (R.E.M., Sonic Youth), others tone down their sound (Metallica) and some keep regurgitating what they’ve been doing for decades (The Rolling Stones).
Kim Thayil’s guitar traditionally wails around on the dissonant side of the spectrum and singer Chris Cornell still deals out high-pitched screeches like a rock version of Celine Dion – but they have audibly matured. And considering that the grunge kids of two decades ago have aged with them, many will appreciate this more grown-up, adult sound.
After 52 minutes, one question remains: now that Soundgarden seems to have arrived at their definitive sound, will they become one of those established bands that don’t evolve anymore? Like fellow Seattle-ites Pearl Jam, or grandfathers of rock Aerosmith, for example. Or will they continue to develop their sound, like Muse or Radiohead?