Norah Jones looks amazing. The only problem with this aesthetic impression is that it’s telling of the somewhat benign auditory mark left by her new LP, Little Broken Hearts. Armed with production from Danger Mouse, a fierce new haircut, and the lyrical angst of a woman scorned, Jones seems to have assembled all the signifiers required of a rebirth. Unfortunately only a few of the 12 tracks build upon the promise of Jones’ blazing cameos on Danger Mouse’s 2011 Rome record. None of this is to suggest that the lovely Ms. Jones has drained the honey from her pipes; her voice is still as perfectly airy–with a touch of rasp–as it ever was. See opener “Good Morning” for a pleasant refresher, or, depending on your opinion of this record, a semi-portentous glimpse into dreamland.
While Danger Mouse has lent career momentum, via kicks and overall sonic backbone, to everyone from Jemini the Gifted One to The Black Keys, not all of his collaborators have been blessed with such trampoline-type bounce – see Beck. Despite more upbeat standouts like “Say Goodbye” and “Happy Pills,” Little Broken Hearts sounds wispy and balmy, not altogether unenjoyable or boring, just not quite actualized to its fullest potential, more Modern Guilt than Brothers. Between the obvious hits and the Halcion fuzz however lays an interesting sound. Album closer “All A Dream” is a smoked-out spaghetti-Western sounding joint befitting of that weird road side tavern in “Twin Peaks,” and that’s a good thing, a sound Rome capitalized on and Little Broken Hearts merely hints at in passing.