Norah Jones made her debut back in 2002 with the multi-million selling Come Away With Me. Her follow-up, Feels Like Home had less of an impact with a more country feel than its jazzy predecessor. 2007 sees the release of her third album; a more personal release given Jones’ contribution to the songwriting this time around.
We know what to expect with a Norah Jones album – wistful, entrancing vocals with a jazz tinge. We have plenty more of that here and despite having more influence on the material she sings, the listener never gets the impression that Jones is stretching her talent beyond that which she knows is safe. While the lyrics show a younger edge the fact that she pushes her self neither vocally nor lyrically shows that she is coasting. Why should she take risks when she knows what sells well?
Thankfully Jones voice alone is enough to set her apart from her peers and influences and thereby saves this album from being one of no merit. It would be harsh to say there aren’t good tracks here; Wish I Could shows sparkles of originality and Broken is Jones at her whimsical best. The rest of the album consists of both Jones and her songwriting partner Alexander Lee treading water and the fact that Not Too Late is guaranteed to sell like hot cakes gives one some hope that the commissioning of a fourth album will give Jones and co the confidence to try something a little more adventurous. In the mean time, Not Too Late will sate fans appetites in a superficial sense.