Norah Jones ended a relationship last year and, like any good artist, she turned it into new material.
The multiple Grammy-winner wrote a batch of songs and created the album “Little Broken Hearts” with producer Brian Burton, also known as Danger Mouse.
“Little Broken Hearts,” as the title suggests, is a dark, unhappy album. Take “She’s 22,” a song directed at an ex who’s now dating a 22-year-old: “‘Cause you sure look happy/Are you really happy?/...Does she make you happy?,” the forlorn song asks.
Then there’s “Miriam,” where the song’s narrator is upset at Miriam, the woman who broke up her relationship. In the song, the narrator kills Miriam.
“I guess I was sort of thinking dark things. I came out of a breakup last year, and I also came out of doing all these recordings and shows with The Little Willies, my country band. We’d cover (Dolly Parton’s) ‘Jolene.’ She punches the girl instead of begging her,” Jones told Complex magazine. “I love ‘Delia’s Gone,’ the Johnny Cash song. It’s like a murder ballad. I don’t know. It kind of all came out of that.”
Burton helped shape the album, as he’s done for artists including the Black Keys and Beck. Jones said she and Burton would jam and create new compositions and collaborations.
But some of the songs did come out with a happier vibe, including “Happy Pills,” the album’s first single. It feels cheery, but it’s still sad, like where she sings, “Time to throw this away/Want to make sure that you never waste my time again.”
“Breaking up is just hard, even if you’re the one breaking up,” she told the New York Times. “It’s not fun. It can be dramatic and complicated. And then you get a little distance and you think, why did it have to be so complicated and dramatic?”
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