Soundbites: Norah Jones, The Wanted
“…Little Broken Hearts”
Blue Note/EMI Records
Though Norah Jones hasn’t been the same blues songstress since her breakout record “Come Away With Me,” she has always been consistent in keeping her listeners entertained. Drawing inspiration from her relationship that ended five years ago, “…Little Broken Hearts” leads Jones down the road into the dark, depressing and repetitive void that is pretentious Bon Iver-esque indie.
There is nothing unique about any of the 12 songs she composed with famed producer Danger Mouse.
A nice return to the bluesy pop-jazz that made her a diamond seller would have been good, but not likely this time around. The album’s first single, “Happy Pills,” is the best that it gets, if only it didn’t sound like a slower unpolished version of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” (which Danger Mouse produced, coincidentally). You have to give it up to Jones, though, for having the guts not to revert to her platinum-record selling ways and be progressive.
Essentially, “…Little Broken Hearts” is Adele’s “21” without the range and power that hooked listeners around the world.
Everybody goes through hard times, but Jones seems to be bottling up her feelings rather than expressing them through her music. The album isn’t bad. It’s just far from OK. With five years of bottled-up feelings, we need more than just a simple hipster’s guide to breaking up.
Island Def Jam
One of the two popular boy bands to come from across the pond, The Wanted has found success in the Ibiza-inspired “Glad You Came.” That seems like the extent of their goals with their debut EP here in the States. Patched together from both of their albums released in U.K., they also added two new songs to even it out. Well, One Direction’s “Up All Night” can maneuver its way through the pop minefield that is Top 40 radio with ease. “The Wanted” lacks that skill. “Chasing The Sun,” though thumping and dance-y enough, lyrically whizzes over our heads.
Their indistinguishable vocals don’t help the band’s case either. “Gold Forever” does a good job at inspiring people to stay as young as long as they can, but sounds rushed and not genuine. Their best bet would be in the ballad “Heart Vacancy,” if you can get through Jay McGuiness’s cringe-worthy vocal work during the third verse.
The Wanted leave their listeners longing for a piece of work that has a little bit more substance. That, or some more dance-floor filler to make up for it.
– Kristopher Jones