Norah Jones is an American singer-songwriter who has built a career for herself on a mix of pop, jazz, folk, and country music. Chances are good that interested individuals have heard of her name at some point in time. After all, Jones has been extremely successful. Something that has been made very clear by a couple of things. One, she has claimed nine Grammys so far. Two, she has sold more than 50 million records on a worldwide basis so far. As such, it is no exaggeration to say that Jones is one of the most notable artists to emerge in the 2000s.
10. Young Blood
Jones’ fourth studio album The Fall was meant to take things in a new direction. For the most part, it succeeded, as shown by the positive reception to the release. “Young Blood” played an important role in making that new direction clear.
9. Day Breaks
“Day Breaks” would be the title track of Jones’ sixth studio album. It is like the rest of the release in that it was a return to her earlier piano-driven sound. However, “Day Breaks” benefited from Jones’ years and years of additional experience, which had a notable effect on the ultimate outcome.
8. What Am I to You
There are a lot of relationship songs out there. As a result, it is very easy for a particular relationship song to just sink into that mass without being able to stand out. Fortunately, there are songs such as “What Am I to You” that manage that feat, thus making them that much more memorable in the process. It is a request for a lover to reciprocate the singer’s honesty, voiced in a manner that is urgent but never excessive. Something made more impressive by that balance.
7. Happy Pills
Sometimes, it is the simplest songs that make the strongest impact. To name an example, consider “Happy Pills,” which is about shrugging off the detritus of a failed relationship. Origin-wise, it was the product of a collaboration between Jones and Danger Mouse. Apparently, it started out with the latter coming up with a four-note hook, which was catchy enough that the two proceeded to turn it into a full-fledged song.
6. Carry On
As mentioned earlier, Day Breaks was a return to Jones’ earlier sound after a period of experimentation. However, it benefited a great deal from her additional experience, with the result that a lot of its contents are worth remembering even though they were treading well-trodden ground. Another example would be “Carry On,” which manages to be excellent in spite of being yet another song about moving on from romantic disappointment.
5. Seven Years
Given the name, some people might have guessed “Seven Years” to be one of Jones’ later songs from one of Jones’ later releases. However, that isn’t the case. Instead, “Seven Years” was the second song off of her debut album Come Away with Me, meaning that it was a product of the very start of her solo career. Even so, it stood out by possessing a lot of her characteristic strengths, with an excellent example being her emotional honesty. As such, “Seven Years” was a foreshadowing of what was to come.
Jones doesn’t make the most exciting kind of music out there. If anything, she is better-known for her fine phrasing and her emotional nuance. In the hands of a lesser artist, those are factors that could very easily lead to something excruciatingly boring. However, Jones manages to be soothing again and again, which is no small achievement. “Sunrise” is one of the best examples of her skill in this regard, somehow managing to more than live up to its name. In fact, it should be mentioned that Jones won a Grammy because of it.
3. Don’t Know Why
It is interesting to note that Jones is one of those artists who managed to make themselves known far and wide with their very first release rather than build up over time. After all, her first single was “Don’t Know Why,” which has the unusual distinction of claiming not one, not two, but three Grammys. Moreover, it was a commercial success, so much so that it remains her biggest song released in the United States so far. It isn’t quite right to say that “Don’t Know Why” was Jones’ best song ever and that everything afterwards have been going downhill. However, there is a reason why so many people talked about her unusual maturity as an artist as soon as this song came out.
Speaking of which, “Nightingale” is another song from the same release that deserves a high-ranking spot on this list. It stood out in that it was one of the songs on the debut album that was written by Jones and only Jones. As such, “Nightingale” made it very clear that Jones wasn’t just a singer to remember but also a songwriter to remember. Something that she has proved again and again in the time since.
1. Come Away With Me
“Come Away with Me” can claim the honor of being an example of adult contemporary’s best by striking an exceedingly fine balance in situations in which other artists often collapse one way or the other. It is languorous but never lackluster. Similarly, it is catchy but also somehow classy. There were a seeming infinity of ways in which “Come Away with Me” could have been rendered bad or ridiculous. The fact that Jones managed to dodge her way out of every single one of them means that it deserves to be fondly remembered.