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Lunch » Tags » Music » Reviews » Norah Jones: Feels Like Home » User review

Once Again, Ok In Medium Doses

  • May 17, 2007
  • by
Rating:
+1
Pros: Norah Jones style is welcome escape from the frenzy of everyday life.

Cons: The music becomes boring slightly more than half way through the album; same ole story.

The Bottom Line: Jones got a little better this time around, but there is still a snooze factor to Feels Like Home.

Original Release Date: February 10, 2004
Genre: Popular
Label: Blue Note Records
Number of Discs: (1)

When Norah Jones burst upon the music scene back in 2002 I didn’t quite know what to make of the dark-headed beauty with the slightly unorthodox vocal style and the sultry disposition. Like I stated in my review of her debut album, Come Away With Me: [O]n the one hand she was—and is—amazingly pleasant to look at, but on the other her voice had—has—a tendency to bore me with prolonged listening. It’s not that her voice isn’t pleasant—at first—it’s that Norah tends to sing in only one octave, which over time grates on the nerves.

This has been a pretty consistent theme on all of her albums, starting with 2002’s Come Away With Me, released by Blue Notes Records and it continued on her follow up CD Feels Like Home (2004). Stylistically Feels Like Home does not stray too far afield from the sound that made Ms. Jones’ first album such a run-a-way hit. The music is still hard to musically define, but I suppose if I had to classify it I would call it a (at times sensual) cross between traditional soul and folk music, only this time around I can hear more than a few hints of C&W in the melody and lyrics. The appearance of Country & Western siren Dolly Parton on track No. 7 Creepin’ In only buttresses this aura perception.

Like the album that preceded it Feels Like Home was an instant hit; the album went platinum the very first week of its release, but it ultimately under-performed Ms. Jones debut album, with just 4 million copies sold thus far. And while the album did not win any awards, the single Sunrise (track No. 1) netted Ms. Jones a Grammy Award in 2005 for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

After listening to Feels Like Home more than a few times through I have to admit that it is a little more interesting than the Brooklyn born artists’ first offering. Lyrically, the album is a little more polished, a little more musically attractive so to speak.

Musically, the album is once again a good mixture mellow tones that leave a pleasant enough after-taste on my musical pallet. To her credit Jones plays the piano throughout the CD, and did write or co-write (6) of the 13 tracks on the album, including track No. 1 Sunrise and one of my favorites Toes (Track No. 8).

Special guests include the aforementioned country stable Dolly Parton, jazz drummer Brian Blade, as-well-as Levon Helm and Garth Hudson of the Band. Song writing partners include Lee Alexander (Sunrise, Carnival Town, Toes, and the Prettiest Thing). Guest lyrists include Tom Waits (The Long Way Home), and Lee Alexander (Creepin' In). and there are surprises as well in the guise of Ms. Jones's retooling of Duke Ellington's Melancholia, re-titled Don't Miss You at All, on Feels Like Home.

Not unlike Come Away With Me, Jones sings all of the songs on this CD in the same laid back, relaxed cadence that lends itself to casual listening. That is perhaps what endears the artist to so many listeners; the message is her music is light-hearted for the most part, non-threatening, and a-political to say the least. In other words there is nothing heavy here, just the usual banter about hearts and love. No doubt Ms. Jones represents an escape from the frenzied shock-to-the-senses way of life we all seem to be leading. Norah Jones and her music is the calm in the storm, the oasis in the desert, the sweetness in the salt.

I too can be swept up in Norah’s mellow musical web, at least for a short time. But t I have to admit, it took a little longer for to get bored with the offerings on Feels Like Home. I enjoyed the opening track Sunshine and tracks in between until just after track No.8 Toes. The message in most of the music remains a bit befuddled, but the overall effect was and is still soothing and enjoyable.

The next three tracks do nothing for me really, but track No. 9 Humble Me has a beautiful musical underpinning in to form of a lone rhythm guitar. And though I am a fan of Tom Waits music, I did not take to The Long Way Home. Perhaps in another’s voice box the song would sound markedly different, but Ms. Jones does it little justice.

The last track Don't Miss You At All is slightly retooled version of a Duke Ellington classic. One review I have read of this CD, states that Jones’ rendition of this song was “soul-stirring,” hardy! Norah Jones’ music can be called many things; soul-stirring is not one of them, at least most of the time. She delivers the song to us in the same monotone in which she delivers all of her songs, my soul was not stirred in the least; there was no emotion there, not soul.

Despite the fact that I can only listen to slightly over half of Feels Like Home at a time, the album remains in my collection, because I have to admit, that bit by musical bit Norah Jones is growing on me.

Track Listing:

1. Sunrise
2. What Am I to Do?
3. Those Sweet Words
4. Carnival Town
5. In The Morning
6. Be Here To Love Me
7. Creepin’ In (featuring Dolly Parton)
8. Toes
9. Humble Me
10. Above Ground
11. The Long Way Home
12. The Prettiest Thing
13. Don't Miss You At All



Recommended:
Yes

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More Norah Jones: Feels Like Home reviews
review by . May 13, 2004
I really thought that after hearing Miss Jones' first album "Come Away With Me", ranting about her to anyone that would listen, & then giving it a five star rating that she and I would become the best of friends, musically speaking. Not so, in her poorly written & produced sad sack of a Sophomoric attempt with "Feels Like Home". Instead of the funky, blues, jazz mix infused with a tiny bit of country thrown in for good measure, which REALLY WORKED on "Come Away With Me", we instead get a totally …
review by . May 02, 2004
I picked up this cd at a bargain price because of all the, "Norah Jones this, and Norah Jones that," I've been reading, and like many other Amazon.com reviewers, I am under whelmed."Feels Like Home," is mellow, and forgettable. Though Ms. Jones's voice is adequate, and the band is good nothing reached out and grabbed me with a "hey, pay attention," energy, or even riff."Feels Like Home," feels like fine background music - if you like that sort of thing - or rainy day take-a-nap music, but I don't …
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Vincent Martin ()
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I am an IT Professional and have worked in the industry for over 20 years. I may be a computer geek, but I also like reading, writing, cooking, music, current events and regretfully, politics.
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About this album

Wiki

This is an Hyper CD, which contains regular audio tracks and also provides a link to the artist's website with the help of a web browser.

After the unexpected runaway success of COME AWAY WITH ME, where to next? The good news about Norah Jones's sophomore effort is that she and producer Arif Mardin decided to leave well enough alone in most regards. There are no screeching guitars, thumping drum machines, or padding synthesizers, and most of the tempos are slow or laid-back--way back. Guests Garth Hudson and Levon Helm of the Band contribute to "What Am I to You?" and Dolly Parton makes an appearance on bassist Lee Alexander's "Creepin' In." Jones's backing group, the Handsome Band, provides just the right stripped-down accompaniments and subtle touches to support the blessing that is her voice.

Jones knows how to luxuriate in the sumptuousness of her sound and infuse such unlikely lyrics as "my toes just touched the water" with a sensual blues sensibility. On top of all this, when it comes to phrasing, her tremendous instincts and smarts put her in rare company. What Jones does explore further is the art of songwriting, and the results here give every indication that she is on the right track.

'Feels Like Home' features 13 tracks & a host of special guests including Dolly Parton, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson of the Band, Jesse Harris, Robert Burger and Tony Scherr. Blue Note. 2004.

Personnel: Norah Jones (vocals, ...
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Artist: Norah Jones

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