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Despite her recent forays into poppier territory, Norah Jones still calls to mind the image of a young chanteuse churning out wise-beyond-her-years jazz tunes in a downtown club. On her fifth album Little Broken Hearts, she’s still downtown, but she’s traded the jazz club for a hip, hole-in-the-wall pub. After working with him on 2011’s Rome, Jones reteamed with Danger Mouse as her producer, and his indie, hip-hop influence is all over this release. The title track is sexy and dark, with Jones’ smoky voice spilling out over a pulsing drumbeat and a quiet, even-keeled guitar line. “After the Fall” could almost be classified as experimental for Jones, with a funky bass line that punctuates layered vocals and a synth-y keyboard melody. Jones’ signatures are still present, though, especially in the countrified twang of “Out on the Road” and the heartbroken, Cat Power-style longing of “She’s 22.” In its exploration of different styles and sounds, Little Broken Hearts solidifies Jones’ reputation as a musical innovator who’s unafraid to shake up her routine.

 

Image courtesy of Blue Note/EMI

 

 

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