Saturday, January 25, 2003

Norah Jones’ Come Away with Me hit #1: January 25, 2003

Originally posted January 25, 2012.

Nearly a year after its release, Norah Jones’ Come Away with Me nabbed the #1 spot on the Billboard album chart. A month later, it would win the Grammy for Album of the Year. It would go on to sell 10 million copies in the United States and 22.5 million worldwide.

Her voice, which “is mature beyond her 22 years,” MR has “a touch of Rickie Lee Jones” DA while the arrangements suggest a touch of Bonnie Raitt. DA “Her youth and her piano skills could lead one to call her an Alicia Keys for grown-ups.” DA “Her assured phrasing and precise time are more often found in older singers as well. She is instantly recognizable, blending shades of Billie Holiday and Nina Simone without sounding like anyone but herself. Any way you slice it, she is a singer to be reckoned with.” MR

Her “debut on Blue Note is a mellow, acoustic pop affair with soul and country overtones, immaculately produced by the great Arif Mardin.” DA “Jones is not quite a jazz singer, but she is joined by some highly regarded jazz talent: guitarists Adam Levy, Adam Rogers, Tony Scherr, Bill Frisell, and Kevin Breit; drummers Brian Blade, Dan Rieser, and Kenny Wolleson; organist Sam Yahel; accordionist Rob Burger; and violinist Jenny Scheinman.” DA

Jones does “convincing readings of Hank Williams’ Cold Cold Heart, J.D. Loudermilk’s Turn Me On, and Hoagy Carmichael’s The Nearness of You.” DA “Heart” and “Nearness” alone “are worth the price of the CD.” MR

“Her regular guitarist and bassist, Jesse Harris and Lee Alexander, respectively, play on every track and also serve as the chief songwriters. Both have a gift for melody, simple yet elegant progressions, and evocative lyrics.” DA “Jones, for her part, wrote the title track and the pretty but slightly restless Nightingale.” DA Her material, “while not bad, pales a bit next to such masterpieces. They might have fared better had she…opted for some livelier arrangements” MR “or if the tunes had simply been given less laconic performances.” MR Still, “while the mood of this record stagnates after a few songs, it does give a strong indication of Jones’ alluring talents.” DA She “has all the tools; what will come with experience and some careful listening to artists like J.J. Cale and Shirley Horn is the knack of remaining low-key without sounding sleepy – sometimes less is not, in fact, more.” MR

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Evanescence charted with “Bring Me to Life”: January 25, 2003

Originally posted January 25, 2013.

image from

Writer(s): Amy Lee/Ben Moody/David Hodges (see lyrics here)

First charted:25 January 2003

Peak: 5 US, 13 UK, 12 MR, 4 AA, 11 AR (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 1.0 world

Radio Airplay (in millions): 0.7 Video Airplay (in millions): 54.37

Review: Evanescence leaned mostly toward a commercialized form of goth which was alternative-radio friendly, but lead singer “Amy Lee’s powerful voice juxtaposes…[with] guest singer Paul McCoy’s (of 12 Stones) gruffness” AZ to give “Bring Me to Life” doses of nu-metal and rap-rock.’s Adrien Bengrad said it sounded “like a love song between a Lilith Fair girl and an Ozzfest dude.” WK All Music Guide’s Johnny Loftus called it “a flawless slice of Linkin Park-style anguish pop” AMG and The Boston Globe said the song “conjures visions of Sarah McLachlan fronting Godsmack.” WK The orchestral parts and pop leanings have also earned the song genre descriptions such as “chamber pop” and a “power ballad.” WK The song didn’t just mix genres but challenged radio station owners who said, “We don’t play pianos and chicks on rock radio.” WK

They did after this song became a hit. Initially included on the Daredevil soundtrack, it also served as a launch pad for the group’s album, Fallen. The song was a chart-topper in the UK, Australia, and Italy and went top ten in at least 15 countries. WK The song also took home a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance and was nominated for Best Rock Song. It also won the Billboard Music Award for Soundtrack Single of the Year.

Some have interpreted the song’s lyrics as a “a call for new life in Jesus Christ,” but the record company explained that the band was secular and didn’t belong in Christian markets. WK The group’s lead singer, Amy Lee, told Billboard she opposed them being identified as a Christian band, although there are many fans suggesting they are a Christian band. SF Other fans have suggested the song was an homage to the movie Never Ending Story. SF

Lee explained that the song was about recognizing what is missing in one’s life. She said the idea was sparked by a conversation in a restaurant waiting for the rest of the party to show up. Although he was just a friend of a friend, he was perceptive enough to sense her hidden feelings and asked her, “Are you happy?” She told VH1, “I realized that for months I’d been numb, just going through the motions of life.” WK She explained to MTV News that, “One day something happens that wakes [you] up and makes [you] realize that there’s more to life…It’s just like, ‘Wow, I’ve been asleep all this time.’” WK

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