Norah Jones didn’t mean to make another album. After she finished touring 2016’s Day Breaks — her beloved return to piano‐based jazz — she walked away from the well‐worn album cycle grind and into an unfamiliar territory without boundaries: a series of short sessions with an ever‐changing array of collaborators resulting in a diverse stream of singles (with Mavis Staples, Rodrigo Amarante, Thomas Bartlett, Tarriona Tank Ball, and more).
Pick Me Up Off The Floor features collaborators from Brian Blade to Jeff Tweedy, and grew out of her acclaimed singles series of the past 2 years as the songs she hadn’t yet released unexpectedly congealed into an album of tremendous depth and beauty connected by the sly groove of her piano trios, lyrics that confront loss and portend hope, and a mood that leans into darkness before ultimately finding the light. Just as this set of songs blurs sonic colors (blues, soul, Americana, and various shades of jazz) it also swirls the personal and political, specific pain and societal trauma, into one mercurial body.
Unpredictability has been a hallmark of Jones’ career from the start. There was, of course, her astounding 2002 debut Come Away With Me, which spent 164 weeks on the charts, swept the Grammys, and ignited a mainstream love for thoughtful, jazz‐steeped acoustic pop. Many artists would just repeat that recipe for success, but Jones never settled into a single sound or mode. She began other projects from indie band El Madmo, to alt‐country outfit Puss N Boots (who just dropped their second LP, Sister), to 2013’s Foreverly, a set of Everly Brothers covers with Billie Joe Armstrong. She appeared on songs by Herbie Hancock, Foo Fighters, OutKast, Willie Nelson, and Sharon Van Etten, and many more.