Norah Jones, Elvis Perkins | Chicago Theatre | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Norah Jones, Elvis Perkins 

When: Sat., March 20, 8 p.m. 2010
Price: Sold out
Norah Jones's latest, The Fall (Blue Note), is a breakup album, and it mirrors the shake-up in her private life with a change in her sound. Gone is the band from her first three albums (which included her ex-boyfriend, bassist Lee Alexander), replaced by a rotating cast of A-list studio musicians; the politely jazzy, piano-driven singer-songwriter pop of those albums is gone too, replaced by something a bit closer to rock. Though Jones sings her gentle, elegant melodies with the same smooth phrasing, electric guitars have largely replaced the piano, and the drumming is declamatory rather than merely suggestive. In her lyrics she mostly alternates between taking mild jabs at the ex and trying to get comfortable with her heartbreak: on "Tell Yer Mama" she has some choice words to pass along to his parents ("So tell your father / That I said, 'So long' / And thanks for raising you / So damn wrong"), while on the charming throwaway "Man of the Hour" she decides to rely on her dog for companionship because dating means she'd have to "choose between a vegan and a pothead." Jones will probably never approach the huge sales of her debut again, but she's still a model MOR pop star, accessible and ingratiating but never dumbed-down or glib—though she never comes on all that strong, there's craft and depth in everything she does. —Peter Margasak


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