I loved her collaborations with Danger Mouse on the Rome project last year, and I thought it was cool that they decided to do a full Norah album together.
It's an interesting choice for her; when she started out, she was kind of the torch-bearer for more traditional music when she debuted with Come Away With Me in 2002, covering standards and Hank Williams and Bob Dylan. Of course there was her Grammy winning collaboration with Ray Charles on his final album, and she's worked with Willie Nelson a number of times.
On the other hand, she's collaborated with younger artists including Ryan Adams, Q-Tip, the Foo Fighters and Talib Kweli.
Anyway, you look at the album cover and you realize that this isn't really the same Norah. Image-wise, musically and lyrically, its an evolution. To me, the standout track on the album is "Miriam." It's a deceptively gentle sounding song in which Norah sings to a woman who had a fling with her man. Check out the video.
Even if they play Norah's early songs in Pottery Barn... don't mess with her!
The first single, "Happy Pills," is funkier than most of what she'd done in the past. When I listen to this album, it sounds like (a) someone who has been hurt and is writing about the sad and painful experience and (b) someone who has gotten a bit tired of her image, and maybe the way she is perceived. I give Norah a lot of credit for this album, but more importantly, I think it's a really good album.
It's worth mentioning that she also did a great roots music album this year with The Little Willies, a band she is a member of. For The Good Times is great also, but Little Broken Hearts is what caught my attention this year.