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Junior outfielder Dan Tauken hits the ball.
PHOTOS: Baseball drops midweek game to SEMO
Rebeca Mertins Chiodini, Photo Editor • April 18, 2024

After coming off a winning weekend away, the Murray State Baseball team lost in what started as a close battle in their midweek match up...

Beyoncés newest studio album Cowboy Carter brings discussions on what should be deemed country.
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The News Reviews: Norah Jones’ ‘Visions’

Norah+Jones+performing+at+Bright+Eyes+in+2007.+Photo+by+Yaffa+Phillips%2C+usable+by+creative+commons+licence%2C+%28https%3A%2F%2Fcreativecommons.org%2Flicenses%2Fby-sa%2F2.0%2F%29
Norah Jones performing at Bright Eyes in 2007. Photo by Yaffa Phillips, usable by creative commons licence, (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)

Norah Jones’ ninth studio album, “Visions,” is a soulful assortment of poignant pop songs.

I’m far from a contemporary pop music enthusiast, but there are certain artists that demand my attention. Norah Jones falls into that category. For one thing, any artist who can do justice to Ray Charles’ portion of “Seven Spanish Angels” is a formidable vocalist.

Beyond her vocal talent, Jones’ skills as a musician also set her apart. Across this album, she plays piano on every track and guitar on most, as well as scattered appearances on other keyboard instruments throughout. “Visions” is a collaboration with producer Leon Michels, who also co-wrote eight of the 12 tracks with Jones.

“The reason I called the album ‘Visions’ is because a lot of the ideas came in the middle of the night or in that moment right before sleep, and ‘Running’ was one of them where you’re half asleep and kind of jolted awake,” Jones said in the album’s promotional material. “I like the rawness between me and Leon, the way it sounds kind of garage-y but also kind of soulful, because that’s where he’s coming from, but also not overly perfected.” 

I feel “rawness” can be a tricky word when describing music. This album isn’t “raw” in terms of harshness like punk or heavy metal music often is. Its rawness stems more from deep emotion, and the purposeful simplicity of the instrumentation and delivery allows that emotion to shine through unobstructed.

A standout in this regard is “Swept Up in the Night.” It has, to me, the most poetic lyrics on the album and one of the best vocal performances. It’s a stirring song about love and longing. The album’s lead single, “Running,” is also excellent. The melody and instrumentation are both enchanting. 

Another aspect of Jones’ work I appreciate is the fusion of genres that make up her style. The influence of elements of jazz, soul, r&b, rock and country are sprinkled throughout these tracks. Most of these elements are subtle, but one song I found particularly interesting in this regard was “Queen of the Sea.” There’s a strong riff that I find very reminiscent of early rock ‘n’ roll. 

There is also a sense of playfulness to the album. One example is the chipper delivery of the refrain on the final track, “That’s Life.” That refrain is simply a repetition of the title, which provides a static through line between verses that encapsulate the highs and lows of life. The nature sounds added to the instrumentation on the opener, “All This Time,” also come to mind.

While “Visions” may fall out of the purview of my usual taste, it is a reminder, to me at least, to keep one’s ears open to every genre. This album reflects the multitudes of Jones’ artistry while still feeling grounded and coherent. All of her influences and experimentations converge into a very good piece of modern pop.

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Ben Overby, Staff Writer

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