The Deal: Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter heads into new territory on her fourth studio album.
The Good: Norah Jones is known for slow and sleepy jazz ballads, so longtime fans may be a little surprised with the latest effort from her. She's got a new band and teamed up with Ryan Adams and Okkervil River's Will Sheff among others as songwriting collaborators. While her piano-driven songs have been at the front of her albums at the past, this time around, Jones is showcasing more guitar-driven tunes and leaving the piano in the background for the most part. It's not to say that the slow and sleepy side hasn't been forgotten. "Back to Manhattan" could fit on any of her previous albums. The first single, "Chasing Pirates," revolves more around a drum beat than a riff, as does "It's Gonna Be." "Light as a Feather" sounds a bit alt-country – no surprise considering it was co-written by Adams. She shows off an old-school jazz style on tracks such as "Man of the Hour."
The Bad: An enjoyable album from start to finish that showcases a different side of Jones without straying too far from her past efforts. It's no doubt that some will not like this new side and trash it completely and ask for a return to the old ways.
The Verdict: Regardless of the rhythm or instrument, Jones' vocals remain at the forefront of all of her work. It's a change in direction, but even during the up-tempo tunes, Jones' soothing style remains constant.