Entertainment

Mitchell: Jones claims coveted second spot on charts

Last week I noted that Carrie Underwood’s new album might bump one time White Stripes main man Jack White from the top of the album charts and that has happened. But I didn’t think that Norah Jones would be scoring the lofty second spot.

Jones is very popular across the board for young and old listeners alike but she really doesn’t seem to score big hits like she used to re: her very first single Don’t Know Why from a decade ago.

Hits usually help boost sales but not so in the case of Norah Jones who has broad appeal to jazz, pop, adult and youth markets.

Anyway, her fifth studio effort is sort of a concept album where the word lachrymose comes to mind. This means tearful or prone to weeping as Jones puts out yet another album of lost love songs not unlike her last effort, The Fall, from three years ago. In fact the CD graphics show a tear falling from the last letter in her name followed by the title Little Broken Hearts which is a far cry (sorry for that pun) from the warm love expressed in her first aforementioned hit which was subtitled I Love You So.

The big news for this 12-track disc is that electronic-whizz producer Danger Mouse (Broken Bells) adds cool sonic accents and fills to this otherwise sombre album where Jones collaborated on all songs with noted writer Brian Burton.

The disc starts off with Good Morning that belies the lyric “I’m folding my hand, I’m moving on” from seemingly the same lover who jilted her three years ago.

The song that seems to be generating some airplay is Happy Pills that is one of the few mid-tempo pop tunes that carries a McCartney-like melody in spite of its bittersweet nature.

The better songs here are with the Sonus Quartet that add a touch of psyche-pop to Take It Back and some dramatic pop-noir to 4 Broken Hearts.

Hopefully Jones can find a happy place to beguile us with some more upbeat pop songs in the future but her popularity doesn’t yet seem affected by all the tears.

B

Karmin: Hello (Epic)

Karmin is the partnered up duo of Amy Heidermann and Nick Noonan who are both alumni of The Berklee School Of Music. In fact one of the class assignments was to write songs with a classmate and that is how Karmin came about.

The duo has become something of a buzz band right now after a winning performance on Saturday Night Live and their loopy cover performance videos over the Internet that have gone viral.

The act was signed by the mighty Epic label and their debut seven-song mini-album has just been released. I suppose the lead single is Brokenhearted, the same song Karmin performed on SNL, and it features a motor-mouthed rap over a hip-pop/electro-pop backbeat.

But unfortunately, all of the songs on this extended play are in exactly the same vein. Most of the tunes here are rap-sung by Amy H. while Nick takes the lead vocal on Coming Up Strong but there just isn’t enough variety on Hello to keep your attention.

I’m Just Saying has a touch more pure pop in its mix but this debut effort would have been nicely enhanced if a few of those cherished indie produced cover songs were included.

Still, a talent to watch.

C+

Marilou is only in her early 20s but the Quebec based singer enjoyed a big hit in France a decade ago as a pre-teen with her duet with Gino Quilico.

Since then, Marilou has enjoyed some success on Quebec TV talent shows which brought her to the attention of Rene Angelil (of Celine Dion fame) and hence this debut English language album.

60 Thoughts A Minute isn’t the rush of blood to the head that the title implies but there are some solid moments on this new disc. Marilou, to my ears, is sort of an answer to Colbie Callait for French Canadians with her breezy folk pop and upbeat songs.

The single is the cute and hooky Wake Me Up On Friday that is included here in both official languages and it is a strong candidate for high rotation airplay.

The unnecessarily long intro and outro tracks demand too much listening for the casual fan but in between there are some pleasant songs.

The rootsy francais folk pop of Signal To The World is slightly redolent of the McGarrigle Sisters who are national folk treasures and Marilou ought to explore more with this sound.

Another act to watch, especially with the healthy management team.

C+

Download Of The Week

She & Him: I Should Have Known Better   This duo includes the surprisingly good pop singer and writer Zooey Deschanel (who was the guest host on SNL when Karmin appeared) and She & Him offer a delightful jazzy pop remake of this Beatles classic that will warm the cockles of your heart.

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