Little Broken Hearts

Album Review of Little Broken Hearts by Norah Jones.

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Little Broken Hearts

Norah Jones

Little Broken Hearts by Norah Jones

Release Date: May 1, 2012
Record label: Blue Note
Genre(s): Vocal, Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter

69 Music Critic Score
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Little Broken Hearts - Fairly Good, Based on 15 Critics

Rolling Stone - 100
Based on rating 5/5
100

Norah Jones sometimes gets derided for being too downtempo – which, really, is like hating on peaches for being juicy. But her fifth album is a brand-rejigging songwriting collab with Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton that both picks up her pace and pumps up her palette. See "Happy Pills," the bouncy single that triangulates the sexy bounce of the Pretenders' "Brass in Pocket" with a lite-soul kiss-off ballad and an AM-radio bubblegum tune.

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Filter - 82
Based on rating 82%%
82

Produced by Danger Mouse following their collaboration on Rome last year, Norah Jones’ Little Broken Hearts could serve as Pt. 2, as we are treated to vintage sounds and Jones’ trite, ever pleasant crooning again. Some songs only contain moments of magic from the vocals, though (“She’s Only 22”); others are knock-out wonderful, and untouchable by the lesser likes of Lana Del Rey, et al.

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American Songwriter - 80
Based on rating 4/5
80

Ten years ago, Norah Jones’ debut prompted an uproar in direct disproportion to the breezy calm of her music. Not quite jazz and not entirely pop but worth an armload of Grammys, Come Away With Me recalled a time in American music history when songcraft and poise were prized above all else – never mind that such a time may not have actually existed as we remember it. Even as she exhibited a seemingly innate understanding of pop’s past, Jones slyly subverted any expectations that accompanied a young, female vocalist who didn’t write all of her own material Unfairly dismissed as a practitioner of dull AOR, Jones has proved surprisingly restless on subsequent albums – perhaps even more adventurous than necessary, which might explain why no subsequent release has made as much of an impact, commercially or culturally, as Come Away With Me did.

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Entertainment Weekly - 72
Based on rating B
72

Norah Jones wants to be your crazy ex-girlfriend. Inspired by her breakup with a mysterious ”fiction writer” whom she refuses to name, her new album arrives with a cover that pays tribute to Russ Meyer’s juicy 1965 sexploitation flick Mudhoney. (Tagline: ”Passion debased by lust…leaves a taste of evil!”) You’d think that Jones wrote these songs while imagining herself as one of Meyer’s heroines, strangling men with her bare thighs.

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AllMusic - 70
Based on rating 7/10
70

Exorcizing the ghost of a failed relationship via the time-honored tradition of the breakup album, Norah Jones luxuriates in beautiful misery on Little Broken Hearts. Liberated by the separation but not quite ready to let it go, Jones achieves a curious subdued tension here, dressing unadorned confessionals in softly stylized studio noir created with the assistance of producer Danger Mouse, who collaborated with her the year before on the collective Rome. Seeming opposites -- the classicist meets the futurist -- Jones and Danger Mouse are well matched, as both artists are not as set in their ways as their individual reputations would suggest.

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PopMatters - 70
Based on rating 7/10
70

When Norah Jones was first unleashed onto the world, we were given every indication that her career would take a similar path of so many other “lite” female singer/songwriters (i.e. Sarah McLachlan, Jewel, and Tori Amos). Right from the get-go Jones was a smooth jazzy scene-stealer, musing through oversimplified sentiments of lovelorn and seemingly bad decisions that she really didn’t regret (as is the case in “Don’t Know Why” from her album Come Away with Me).

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Slant Magazine - 70
Based on rating 3.5/5
70

It’s very 2006 to work with producer Danger Mouse as some kind of credibility move, but Norah Jones is usually at her best when she looks to the past for inspiration. If Little Broken Hearts‘s tempo is still too consistently staid to allow Jones to shake off those lingering “boring” tags for good, the overall style of the album marks a significant departure for the singer, who sounds far more uninhibited and spry than on any of her previous solo outings. That Danger Mouse reins in some of his more show-offy tendencies makes it one of his strongest efforts in some time as well, making for a mutually beneficial partnership.

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NOW Magazine - 60
Based on rating 3/5
60

NORAH JONES plays Massey Hall July 6. See listing. Rating: NNN If you think you hate Norah Jones, this collaboration with producer Danger Mouse is the album that could change your mind. The pairing not only gives the silky-voiced crooner some much-needed edge and humanity, but it also finds the producer showing more restraint and appreciation for space than he has for much too long.

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The Guardian - 60
Based on rating 3/5
60

Polite lady music will always be with us. There is, though, the kind of polite lady music that makes you want to hand back your gender in shame and the kind that tilts at the sublime. Over the past couple of years, Rumer's dulcet sorrow has spoken to everyone from jaded music hacks to great aunts. In 2002, however, it was Norah Jones's debut album, Come Away With Me, that set the standard for loveliness unencumbered by cool.

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The Observer (UK) - 60
Based on rating 3/5
60

Polite lady music will always be with us. There is, though, the kind of polite lady music that makes you want to hand back your gender in shame and the kind that tilts at the sublime. Over the past couple of years, Rumer's dulcet sorrow has spoken to everyone from jaded music hacks to great aunts. In 2002, however, it was Norah Jones's debut album, Come Away With Me, that set the standard for loveliness unencumbered by cool.

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Consequence of Sound - 58
Based on rating C+
58

After the runaway train that was 2002’s Come Away Wtih Me, Norah Jones had enough cache to pretty much do whatever she wanted. The diamond RIAA-rated coffee house jazz album came out of nowhere (a surprise considering her lineage) to top best of the year lists, also winning eight Grammys and many a mom’s heart as they stopped in to Starbucks on the way to pick up the kids from soccer practice. This instant freedom and carte blanche led to a vast array of projects, including a collaboration album featuring Q-Tip and Dolly Parton, forming roots country group The Little Willies, and working with Daniel Luppi and Danger Mouse on their expansive Rome.

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Under The Radar - 40
Based on rating 4/10
40

One of the many frustrating things about Norah Jones is what appears to be a total unwillingness to push herself beyond her lyrical and vocal comfort zones. She's a gifted vocalist, a good-enough pianist, and a gracious performer, and yet—without exception—her first four studio albums sound like one long, tiresome song. So when it was revealed that the new Norah Jones album, Little Broken Hearts, was produced and co-written by Danger Mouse (Beck, Gnarls Barkley, The Rapture, Broken Bells, Gorillaz, etc.), it seemed like a great opportunity to convince skeptics that Norah Jones is probably very capable of making something other than vanilla, Grammy Award-winning, mushy, mellow, mom-rock.

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Exclaim
Their review was positive

Brian Burton should work with everybody. The artist also known as Danger Mouse brought the best out of James Mercer after years collaborating together as Broken Bells, and now pulls Norah Jones out of her long slumber as the darling of adult contemporary with Little Broken Hearts. This Norah Jones is damaged, dangerous and vulnerable, and Burton's mastery of sound helps deepen the relationship between listener and song.

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Austin Chronicle
Their review was positive

Norah Jones steps into the danger zone on her fifth album, teaming with producer Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton, who instills burbling beats and old-timey atmospherics. The resultant ... Little Broken Hearts is a career-redefining breakup LP that also works as a tell-off for anyone continuing to discount the Dallas-born chanteuse as an overly snoozy songwriter.

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BBC Music
Their review was generally favourable

Esteemed songstress makes heartbreak sound good. Marcus J. Moore 2012 On 2011’s Rome, singer Norah Jones, producer Brian ‘Danger Mouse’ Burton, guitarist Jack White and film score composer Daniele Luppi paid homage to old Italo-Western movies with twinkling chimes, twangy guitar riffs, and notable vocal performances. While many of the instrumentals held up without words, the concept album saw new life when Jones took to the microphone.

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