Single Review: Norah Jones “Sunrise”

Sunrise
Album: Feels Like Home
Year: 2004

The sun starts peeking out from underneath the bushes, the flowers, and finally reaching the trees and over various mountains. Golden yellow and round, the sunrise is a symbol of a new beginning, a time to look forward and make changes.

For Norah Jones, a “Sunrise” is familiar and ordinary. With her new single, she doesn’t really venture far. Instead, she sticks to the same formula which worked for her first album: slow, melodic adult contemporary jazz. “Sunrise” could’ve been on the last album and not made a difference.

“Sunrise” begins in the middle in the afternoon with Jones next to her lover and noticing that “looks like morning in your eyes/but the clock’s held 9:15 for hours.” In the chorus, she adds that “sunrise, sunrise/couldn’t tempt us if it tried.” And then expresses her contentment and pleasure with “oooh ohhh…do you?” In the second verse, she notes that she is surprised that he’s there and that they’ve enjoyed yet another day together. The last verse has a beautiful personification of night in it. She sings “And now the night/will throw its cover down/mmm, on me again/Oh, and if I’m right/it’s the only way to bring me back.” It is also a tender way to express the sentiment that she enjoys having sex with her boyfriend. For her, love is wordless and she is in awe of it.
The mood is blissful and leisurely. “Oohhs,” while in other songs are a way to replace a word, for Jones it’s an emotion. The “oohhs” here suggest peacefulness and a sense of communicating with a lover through only their facial expressions.
Jones, however, delivers the lyrics as she would any other ones. She may as well be singing about orthodontic surgery and the benefits it brings to those who choose to get it done. The only time she feels “in” the song is when she insecurely asks “do you?” Formal and lacking sensuality, the single loses its emotional impact.

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