First published on 1 Jun 2012. Updated on 25 Feb 2014.
Since selling a gazillion copies of 2002’s dinner jazz opus Come Away with Me, Norah Jones’s output has become steadily more interesting, and fifth album Little Broken Hearts continues the trend. A polished dream-pop record co-written with producer Brian ‘Danger Mouse’ Burton, it won’t offend lovers of Beach House and Mazzy Star. But while there are plenty of appealing moments – the toe tappin’ synth refrain to ‘Say Goodbye’, the gorgeously crooned ‘To the Sea’ and the chorus of ‘Take It Back’ – it never quite shifts into top gear.
If you’re expecting Burton’s presence to give the lethargic Ms Jones a shot in the arm, that’s probably testament to the fact that no one remembers the humdrum stuff he’s produced (see The Shortwave Set’s Replica Sun Machine). This is not to diss Burton, but he needs a big personality (Cee-Lo, MF Doom) to spark off, and unfortunately Norah Jones is not that character. She’s restrained; he’s tasteful: together they come to a pleasant but unmemorable deadlock.