Songs for a Sunday: Norah Jones’ “Come Away With Me”

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of Norah Jones’ album “Come Away With Me.” (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Colin Schrein, A&E Editor

Transport yourself to a Sunday morning as a kid. Maybe that means cleaning the house with mom, maybe that means cartoons and cereal. When I was growing up, my parents would always play music on Sunday mornings (at least that’s my perception now). On these mornings with my brothers and parents, with the smell of coffee in the air, my mom would put on “Come Away With Me” by Norah Jones. This album is one I reflect upon very fondly. As I listen again now, 20 years after its conception, I remember my childhood and those sweet Sunday mornings.

“Come Away With Me” opens up with “Don’t Know Why,” one of Jones’ most popular songs. Its laid back brush-beat drums, soft guitar and sparse piano create an atmosphere of pure coziness which persists throughout the record. As she sings “My heart is drenched in wine / But you’ll be on my mind forever,” we are eased into a calm yearning for someone since gone. “Come Away With Me” is a record infused with nostalgia and introspection by the flame of Jones’ lyrics.

If you have ever felt that you’re living the same day over and over again, Norah Jones has been there too. On “Feelin’ the Same Way,” she aches with the soreness of monotony and a scrambled mind. Submitting to this familiar feeling of being lost is part of the journey that Jones takes us on and I am all for it. We are gently led under a quilt of soothing sounds as she eases us to come away with her.

Jones’ smoky voice hovers above the slight lilt of “Come Away With Me,” the album’s title track. This is one of my favorite songs of hers as she reveals the firmament of a life speckled with stars of a lover. “Come Away With Me” is a glimpse into a romantic mind, one rich with a need for closeness and comfort. With lyrics such as “So all I ask is for you / To come away with me in the night,” all I want is to be whisked away in a warm whirlwind of love.

Heading down to track eleven, we reach “One Flight Down.” This song looks you in the eyes through a haze of memories, broken and seen in a new light. As Jones takes our hand in hers, she tells us of a love that was always present but never realized or nurtured. The clock has ticked for years, but until this point, one flight down was where that love never quite made it to someone who never quite felt it. Now it is too late, as “There’s a song on low / And it’s been there playing all along.” There’s nothing to be done but to carry on.

This record is close to my heart with its humbleness and tenderness, just as I felt on those Sunday mornings with my mom. It is real, yet embraceable and embracing at the same time. Norah Jones is truly a poet of a worn soul, stamped by time and creased like an old baseball mitt. “Come Away With Me” is a smooth masterpiece that hugs you from the inside out and brushes dust from idling or lost memories.

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