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Norah Jones 'Visions' album review: Jones draws inspiration from the wee hours

Norah Jones's latest album 'Visions' was inspired by those ideas that drift into your consciousness in the wee hours. Many creatives will know the feeling of desperately scrambling for a pen and paper as a fragment from a dream bobs into your mind and hoping to catch it before it floats off into the ether once more. 

This is an album that very much feels like a 4am notebook: there's a mix of sounds and vignettes from across Jones's career - there's jazz, blues, folk, country, soul. It tosses and turns and is impossible to pin down from one track to the next, but mostly all delivered in a very safe, cozy space.

'Running' is one of the more dynamic and heavier tracks on the album draws inspiration from that mule kick out of bed. Tonally it feels a tad out of place with the more serene lullabies of the album, but it will certainly shake you out of the album's comfort zone.

It's not just her and the piano either, the album continues to blend other sounds with her distinctive vocals, which are unchanged by time. She weaves in retro grooves and tones this time too. 'Staring at the Wall' plays with harmonies like Linda Rondstadt and Emmylou Harris did - no surprises considering Harris and Jones have worked together.

Sure, the songs don't jump out at you in the same way that 'Come Away With Me' did, but this is Jones playing with music and focussing on her love for melody and harmony. The snappy ditty 'On My Way' sees Jones doing just that in bucket loads. 'Paradise' pairs an old out-of-tune honky tonk piano and Jones's pitch-perfect tone. This discordance has a charm all of its own. 'Queen of the Sea' has another tight harmonic against a trudging rhythm, placed with minimal chords with Jones's vocal riding on the crest of a wave.

The album may not be a career-best for Norah Jones, but it's far from a low point. Listening to 'Visions' is like that wonderful moment when you have just roused from a glorious slumber.


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