Ayo Jegede
reviews editor
May 07, 2003
Amazon Disco:
Come Away with Me Come Away with Me
February 26, 2002
Blue Note Records
Feels Like Home Feels Like Home
February 10, 2004
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Don't Know Why Don't Know Why
June 25, 2002
EMI Int'l
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Rock Music Reviews
Norah Jones
Come Away With Me

"but ayo, she won like a bajillion grammies and sold a bajillion records! how can you not like this album?!"

ah, the wonders of mob mentality. it is because of them lifeless and mediocre rock bands like The Strokes and The Vines have been thrust [even if just momentarily] upwards in the chain of success, in the same dimension as half-naked Abercrombie teens and reality television. it's also because of them longstanding genres with such variance [like jazz] have now become dissolved to sing-songs and stupidly ephemeral feelings. it's not as though they don't have talent because that isn't my qualm. my qualm is with utterly random way their upsurge towards fame and critical acceptance was never questioned. did people forget about what rock and jazz really were?

and so we have Norah Jones, a young woman who swept the grammies and has sold over 6 million records. it seems to be the record that pacifies all tension between musical gangs as both the tepidly rebellious Avril Lavigne faction enjoys it as much as the constantly lugubrious Staind faction. everyone is enchanted by the ease and simplicity in her voice and the general atmosphere she creates when she sings.

"yeah...but is it steak?"

when people began comparing her to Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, the hairs on my back became erect with the prospect of a new kid on the block of jazz vocalists and muses. then i heard the album and realized that many people have officially decided that there is no difference in music, just like there is no difference between types of meat. this may seem crude but Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday were like steak, each note was finely prepared and each intonation was heavy enough to ease one's gastronomical rapacity. but Norah Jones is like a fancy burger: sure it's meat, but it's not steak. songs like the title track, the first single 'Don't Know Why,' and 'Cold Cold Heart' are relaxed but they seem so transient and lifeless. the compositions aren't bad but they don't possess any spark of ingenuity. there is no force to her music, just presence.

the album's popularity bothers me because it seems as though a whole new generation has forgotten about the old jazz legends, not just the vocalists. saying names like Count Bassie, Charlie Parker, and [gasp] Thelonious Monk will make you into some jazz sage even though these musicians were just some of the popular members of the music. perhaps it's fitting that Come Away With Me has received such rapturous accolade. maybe jazz lovers are just a dying breed.

Release date: February 26, 2002
Label: Blue Note
Rating: 3.0 / 10

[RMR]