...when you try and listen actively to 'Feels Like Home' there's little to engage the...
Nick Reynolds 2002-11-20
Like millions of people I bought a copy of Norah Jones' 'Come Away With Me'. I was intrigued by Nora's smoky, intimate voice and liked the song "Don't Know Why." However, unlike millions of people, I gave the album away. Apart from a couple of tracks I found it dull and disappointing.
'Feels Like Home' does not make me change my opinion. Strong melodies or moments of real beauty are few and far between. Norah's songwriting, with its cliqued images and rhymes, is just not very interesting. She needs material which plays against her tendency to slow everything down and relax to the point of dropping off to sleep. The occasional moments of drama, like the soulful groove of "In The Morning", all come when she is covering other people's songs.
It's understandable that so many should turn to Norah's music as a relief from the brutal beats and hysterical textures of modern pop. But this album is just too full of tasteful but pedestrian guitar work, dull electric pianos and plodding over-recorded drums. It's country soul with all the interesting bits smoothed away.
There are a couple of highpoints here. The duet with Dolly Parton, "Creepin In", is the best track on the album. Dolly sounds like she's having fun and the results are rather sweet. Nora has written some words to Duke Ellington's "Melancholia" and performs it solo - one of the few moments where some genuine emotion shows through, helped by someone else's interesting tune.
There's nothing wrong with quiet reflective music, but when you try and listen actively to Feels Like Home there's little to engage the ear. Which is a shame, as Nora's voice is rather lovely. I'm hoping in future she will take some risks and come up with something a bit more engaging. (Though no doubt millions will disagree with me!)