Hauntingly beautiful and graceful crooning
Norah Jones is an award-winning American singer-songwriter who has been on the music scene for 20 years now. She won the world’s attention with her opening solo debut, Come Away With Me, in 2002. The album’s unique fusion of jazz, country, blues and pop put it on the radar and earned it Diamond status with over 27 million copies sold. She also earned five Grammy’s for the record, including Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist. Jones has released many records since her debut, many of which went Platinum. Now, Jones has just released her eighth solo studio album, Pick Me Up Off The Floor, and she shares that she took a different, more freeing approach to her songwriting this time around. She drew plenty of inspiration from poetry and its flow, as well.
The project opens on a somber note with track “How I Weep” that reaches back into Jones’ earlier sound, blurring the lines around genres. Lyrics like “Inside I weep and I weep/ For a loss that’s so deep/ That it hardens and turns into stone/ There it stays and rolls through bones/ Till they crumble” denote a dark tone and paired with Jones’ lovely but emotional vocals, people get a perfectly haunted sound. We continue to hear those melancholic melodies on a track like “Heartbroken, Day After,” where the sadness just seeps into the sounds and vocals. In a way, these songs bring to mind the music of former folk duo The Civil Wars who were known for their beautifully eerie take on indie folk.
“To Live” is a slightly more hopeful track than the previously mentioned ones, with uplifting lyrics like: “To live in this moment/ And finally be free/ Is what I was after/ No chains holding me” and “I want a life in color/ To breathe outside the lines/ To live in the moment/ Find peace in my mind.” The song’s jazzy flow and rhyme scheme really do seem almost like sung poetry.
Jones takes on an encouraging and empowering tone on song “I”m Alive,” whose message is that people hope for change in a world where women aren’t always treated equally. The song is a bit more upbeat than the rest of the project, but still in a bluesy way, and while the subject is still a difficult one, Jones expresses her feelings well.
The album ends on a piano heavy note with track “Heaven Above” that, like the rest of the album, stays true to Jones’ classic jazzy blues roots, just with a hint more sorrow. Jones’ soft, elegant vocals croon the words “I’m just smiling/ At the thought of a day long ago/ When you asked me to stay and I left/ At the fork in the road” sending home that heartbroken feeling.
Old fans and new fans alike will find something to love about Pick Me Up Off The Floor. Whether it’s her pretty and nostalgic voice, her lyrical vulnerability or just the one-of-a-kind harmony brought together by melting many genres together, Jones never disappoints.