By Nicholas Jennings on Sunday, 13 May 2012
Category: Reviews

Norah Jones - Little Broken Hearts

If you haven’t followed her music in the last few years, if what you know best is the soft jazz-pop sounds of her early albums, then you’re in for a surprise. Jones’ fifth studio album, produced by Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton of Gnarls Barkley fame, is her darkest, moodiest release to date. A collection of songs about a failed relationship, it features fuzzed-out guitars, electronic effects and spooky vocals. “Breaking up is hard,” says Jones, “even if you’re the one breaking up. It’s not fun. It can be dramatic and complicated.”

            But there’s nothing depressing about the new album. “Happy Pills,” with its chugging beat and good-riddance lines, is refreshingly cathartic. And “Miriam,” a haunted chamber serenade, and “She’s 22,” drenched in ghostly reverb, are oddly uplifting because Jones sounds so empowered. Channeling anguish into inspired experimental pop, the once demure jazz chanteuse has emerged stronger—and more compelling—than ever.