Spun: Norah Jones

By Ken Clarke

With each Norah Jones release, her sound changes enough to “be new but not so much the listener feels like it’s a radical departure. This is a difficult thing to do, but Jones’ fourth album, The Fall, builds off her previous efforts familiar sounds and successfully integrates some unexpected twists.

There are new grooves on The Fall, partly resulting from the record’s greater emphasis on guitar instead of piano. The album is also more synthesizer-dependent, which shifts the feeling toward rock.

To listeners of Jones’ first album who haven’t heard the other two that came in between, the feel of The Fall will be a shock. But those who enjoyed her last album will notice a similarity. Gratefully, the Tim Burton-esque sounds have been limited on Fall, so it seems that Jones is settling in to her role as principle songwriter. Producer Jacquire King has done a good job picking up on Jones’ strengths as a songwriter and musician in their first collaboration together.

Jones’ strongest delivery is when the arrangement is kept simple, and when she uses her voice to convey a simple message full of emotion. The third track on the album, “Light as a Feather,” is written with Ryan Adams and is the first point that the record begins to settle in. “Back to Manhattan” recalls the folk style Jones used on her second album Feels Like Home, and between these two feels the album carries itself nicely.

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