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Picks and Pans Main: Music

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Norah Jones

Little Broken Hearts


Ten years after her smash Come Away with Me, Norah Jones has hooked up with Danger Mouse to produce her fifth solo album. But don’t expect this to sound like a Gnarls Barkley record-Norah, thankfully, isn’t trying to replace Cee Lo. Jones finds a perfectly moody match in Danger Mouse, with whom she worked on 2011’s Rome, an homage to Italian film music. Taking inspiration from that project, songs like the dusty “4 Broken Hearts” are evocative of Italian westerns. Elsewhere, Danger Mouse surrounds Jones’s smoky vocals with even more interesting layers of texture and atmosphere that make this play like the soundtrack to a cool indie film about a failed romance. (This is Jones’s second straight breakup album after 2009’s The Fall.) “Don’t you miss the good ol’ days/ When I let you misbehave?” she coos on “Say Goodbye,” a sly, slinky kiss-off set to a shuffling trip-hop beat. With that voice, she could have any man begging for forgiveness.


Strangeland |


After getting into ’80s synth-pop grooves on their last two releases-and even flirting with hip-hop on 2010’s Night Train-Keane makes a welcome return to piano-rock territory. Songs like “You Are Young” have an anthemic grandeur that suggests U2 with a keyboard player, while divine ballads like “The Starting Line,” led by Tom Chaplin’s choirboy tenor, could fill a cathedral. But their melodic mojo also works on uptempo tunes like “On the Road,” a track so ridiculously sunny it may save you a trip to the tanning salon.

The Wanted

The EP |


Before the Wanted arrived Stateside with the MTV anthem “Glad You Came”-one of the songs of spring-the boy band had already released two hit albums in their native U.K. Highlights from those-plus two new tunes-are culled on this seven-track EP. Pumping, club-ready jams like “Lightning” show there’s more where “Glad” came from, but the atmospherics of cuts like the glistening “Gold Forever” also call to mind what Coldplay might sound like if they were some young lads rocking the party with glow sticks.