Saturday, November 20, 2010

Album Review: Norah Jones ...Featuring

Confession: I haven't bought  a Norah Jones album since Come Away With Me (2002). I still listen to that album (or tracks off of it) regularly, though. Jones's soft ballads make a great soundtrack for life when you want to slow down or relax a bit. So when I had the opportunity to review her new album ...Featuring, I signed up immediately*. In fact, I signed up so quickly that I didn't even realize this was a compilation album.

It turns out the collection includes songs performed with a variety of artists from a broad range of genres (from rock to country and blue grass, to hip hop and rap and everything in between), as well as performances from her side projects El Madmo and The Little Willies. The tracks were recorded throughout her career and, placed side-by-side in a single album, you can clearly see just how musically flexible Jones can be.

I've been listening to ...Featuring over and over since it arrived in my mailbox a couple of weeks ago, and each time I listen I discover something new. It occurs to me that I've listened to and enjoyed many of these songs before, songs like Q-Tip's "Life is Better" and The Foo Fighters' "Virginia Moon", but wedged among sons like El Madmo's "Bull Rider" and Jones' own version of Blue Bayou featuring M. Ward, even the familiar songs have a fresh feel to them. It's an eclectic mix that on the surface seems discordant and jumbled. But I enjoyed the variety of sounds and voices, all connected by the cool, sultry voice of Norah Jones.

I'll definitely be putting my favorite holiday song, "Baby It's Cold Outside" (covered by Willie Nelson) on repeat this season. And since everything in my life seems to come back to yoga these days, I've can't help thinking as each track plays which yoga class playlist it'll go on. Talib Kweli's "Soon the New Day" will be perfect for a Vinyasa Flow class and Ray Charles' "Here We Go Again" has to be included at the end for lower-key stretching and cool down. I think that's what I like most about this album. There's something on it that fits every musical mood, something that will connect with everyone. My one worry for ...Featuring is that, unless there are a lot of die-hard Jones fans out there who have as eclectic music tastes as I do, there's not enough of a single sound on the album to connect with any one group of listeners. That won't stop me from recommending it, though. I think everyone could stand to broaden their musical horizons a bit, and this album is a safe, comfortable way to do that.

For more info about Norah Jones and her music, check out her website or find her on Facebook and YouTube.

*Disclosure: You can rest assured that all opinions expressed in this review are my own. However, I received a free copy of ...Featuring through One2One Network and by writing this review I was entered in a contest to win a gift card.

1 comment:

Lady Fromage said...

I haven't bought any of her stuff in a while either, but I don't know why, I always liked her. I think her new album will be on my Christmas list now! :)

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