I immediately fell in love with the Norah Jones album Little Broken Hearts when first hearing it on a visit with family in the UK in late 2012. Bought it on iTunes right away.
The overall sound of the album is a little edgier and adventurous than I remember Norah Jones being. But then again, I haven’t followed her closely since her debut album of ten years earlier, Come Away with Me. I remember her earlier sound as being a little more on the jazz-pop side of things, not a genre I go to immediately or know a lot about. Though with some dear friends who are outstanding composers and performers in the jazz space, I really should try to learn more about it.
Back to today’s selection, the whole of Little Broken Hearts is a good companion for sitting with on a relaxed day. I’m sure I was still listening to it a lot the next year when Jones teamed up with Green Day singer Billie Joe Armstrong, and they put out Foreverly. It was probably a bit of a departure for both of them (though admittedly I know nothing about Armstrong), as it is a reinterpretation of The Everly Brothers’ Songs Our Daddy Taught Us (1958). Foreverly has a great twang to it, and both Jones and Armstrong lay down some serious drawl. It’s a great listen.
“Good Morning” starts with a slightly distant piano trill that’s joined by a restrained electric guitar and then Jones’s smoky vocal. The whole song keeps at a slow pace that seems to build into the robust and bass-dominated launch into the funkier imperative, “Say Goodbye.” The instrumentation and production of the whole album are stellar. There are so many great sounds.
In the first verse, the singer is greeting her lover with the warning that she is thinking about leaving, but that maybe, powerful actions or powerful feelings will keep her from going:
My thoughts on leaving
Are back on the table
I thought you should know
And maybe powerful actions
Or powerful feelings
Will keep me from going
I’m folding my hand, hand
I’m folding my hand, hand”
(from “Good Morning,” by Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse, producer of the album)
But alas, in the second verse, perhaps another night or many have passed when she tells him that more loving was what she was after, as she acknowledges he couldn’t give it and she is moving on. The cello that comes into the mix at the end (today was the first time I noticed that instrument, actually), mournfully signals the end of their relationship.
Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.
Here’s the official audio from Norah Jones’s YouTube channel: