Revenge is, as they say, best served cold. Thus, the icy cool and calculated revenge hinted in “Happy Pills” by Norah Jones from her latest album released this May is a refreshing change from the slow serenade often associated with her. She teases and almost reaches darkness with her words and strong overtones.
The makeover was long overdue. It started with collaboration with Danger Mouse in “Rome” where she is the fallen heart. Little Broken Hearts is a story of the slow decay of a relationship. “She’s 22”, my personal favorite, has a vengeful and yet vulnerable quality about it.
The songs are refreshingly mature and are perhaps Norah’s best work yet. The electronic jazz-like quality proves she isn’t afraid to venture into unexplored territory. I had never been a fan of Jones for I always thought she lacked variation. The lyrical power of the songs makes you a part of the story at the very first listen. The video of “Happy Pills” is perhaps the best representation of the album. It is sexy, classy and vengeful in every way. The song appears much later though in the evolution of the album. I would suggest listening to the songs in the exact order for they tell a story. A dark one, one of mystery, anger and suppressed rage, the story is pretty simple but the emotion has so many layers to it. One starts to picture the relationship breaking down right in front of you.
“Travelin’ on” speaks of moving on with strength. Each song is symbolic of the emotion you feel starting with the realization of infidelity down to the revenge. The beauty of the story lies in the sexy undertone of slow and calculated revenge. For all those who wrote off Norah Jones as the bore she used be (including me), this one is set to make you sit up and take notice. It’s bold, mature and creative contemporary jazz at its very best.
The video oh “Happy Pills” is what drew me in. I hope it does the same to you. “Miriam” only takes the story one step further. To me, it’s almost shocking someone could write as darkly and get away with it with such class and do a perfect job of it! “All a Dream” is an abrupt ending to the musical but its rhythmic power is enough to hold the song good on its own.
The best thing about the collection is that I could picture a musical right in front of me with each and every song. Poetry, music and fiction all contribute to the freshness of the album. An eternal addition to my collection. Hope it makes it to yours too…