Norah Jones, the girl who sold you sex without revealing her skin, is back with her third studio album Not Too Late. If Come Away With Me, which sold eight million copies, was to get you to runaway with her and Feels Like Home, which reached two million copies within the first month, had you settled down in a trailer home, Not Too Late, which will release at the end of January 2007, is a break-up-to-make-up deal.
On the album opener accompanied by an acoustic guitar ostinato, Jones wishes she could walk into a place you and her used to go, but she couldn’t without you. The memories are too strong, as she recounts in “Be My Somebody”: “I held your head up, do you remember? / When you wanted to make a blanket out of me / Oh I can’t lie… I been keeping score / And it’s your turn to wring me out / And lay me down to dry.” Yes, she’s mindfucking you again, and she’s damn good at it. She even invites you back to her jazzy “Little Room” that is big enough for you to do the things you like to do, and sings you a bluesy “Rosie’s Lullaby” if you are not in the mood to do anything. Can’t beat that, and it is still “Not Too Late,” to come home to mama, baby. She still wants you back because without each other, you both are going to be “Sinkin’ Soon” (a marvelous jazz arrangement with a kick-ass trombone break). So help her breathes and help her believes that you are “Not Her Friend” because she can’t pretend that you are. She can’t seem to stop “Thinking About You,” your cold hand, your broken voice, your twisted smile, and she knows exactly what you need to wash away your pain and to mend your “Broken” heart.
Talking about the art of album crafting. Jones and her musicians have mastered it by aiming straight at our soul from song to song, but in an easygoing route. Sex is presence (“Last night was a record to be broken / It broke all over the kitchen floor / Oh no don’t you go / I’m coming back with a rag / to wipe away the haze from the days / We’ve forgotten all about”) but never in your face. Affection is there but not over dramatic, thanks to that gruff voice, which sounds like a concoction of wild honey and cognac. Not Too Late will continue to dominate the pop chart and sellout like cocaine hits the street similar to its predecessors.