Single Review: Norah Jones “Don’t Know Why”

Don’t Know Why
Year: 2002
Album: Come Away With Me

Norah Jones is a rarity in the Top 40 world. She doesn’t seek out the press. She doesn’t have 55-hour weddings or flash..well…anything. She makes her music and keeps to herself.

In the jazzy, retro “Don’t Know Why,” Jones is apprehensive about a relationship she has with her boyfriend. Jesse Harris, who wrote the song, uses earthly descriptions to explain Jones’ confusion. For example, in the second verse Jones sings “instead of kneeling in the sand/catching teardrops in my hand.” “Don’t Know Why” is like someone enjoying the warm sun on a breezy, summer day, but thinking of their troubles at the same time. The scenery may be peaceful in Jones’ world, but inside her heart she is confused.

Her voice is lonesome and haunting as she sings that her “heart is drenched in wine/you’ll be on my mind/forever.” Jones is patient with each note and only sings them sparsely. She is content to sing as much as she has to. If Jones were plopped into 1994, she would find herself among peers like Hope Sandoval of Portishead and Mazzy Star. Her voice would fit neatly into trip-hop. However, even if Jones were transported to the future in 2110, she would still find an audience.

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