Billboard singles reviews: Norah Jones, Timbaland

Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:03pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Billboard) - Due November 17, Norah Jones' fourth studio album, "The Fall," will incorporate more rhythm and guitar, but it won't be a 180-degree transformation. Both of these elements are introduced with subtlety and care on the album's first single. "Chasing Pirates" floats along with Jones' breathy, sensual vocals over a stream of guitar effects and a New Wave-esque groove, courtesy of producer Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, Tom Waits). The lyrics are somewhat obscure but still manage to achieve a winning simplicity, as Jones sings of her preoccupied dream state. While her jazzy, piano-driven hits have always been rich in songwriting and arrangement, Jones' experimentation with tempo and instrumentation on her new material is a welcome one.


SINGLE: MORNING AFTER DARK (Blackground Records)

Timbaland is nearing the release of the second installment in his "Shock Value" series, and from the sounds of the first single, "Morning After Dark," the producer is back in stride. Much like the material on his first set, the song heaves with massive sub-bass and weighty kick drums. Timbaland flirtatiously harmonizes over a galactic-sounding, double-speed piano and thumping beats. "When the cats come out, the bats come out to play," he croons on the catchy hook, which features his new label signee, SoShy. While comparisons to the 2007 cut "Return the Favor" are undeniable -- lacking shock value on that end -- this club banger will send shockwaves through your speakers nonetheless.


SINGLE: GUILTY OF THE CRIME (Bellamy Brothers Records)

Two pairs of veteran country siblings come together with impressive results on this tune. "Guilty of the Crime" was featured on the Eagles' 2007 album "Long Road out of Eden" and is revived for an intriguing collaboration between Howard and David Bellamy and Kevin and Michael Bacon. The song is now featured on the Bellamy Brothers' "Anthology, Volume I," and its new production is skillfully understated, focusing on what feels like an effortless blend of the duos' voices. Their solid vocal delivery is what gives "Guilty of the Crime" its main appeal.