Editor’s Note: Our recurring “Portrait of the Artist” playlist series pays homage to the artists responsible for the most inspired and indispensable discographies of all time. We hope you enjoy these tributes, and stay tuned for many more to come.
Originally released to massive critical and commercial acclaim in late February 2002, about one month before her 23rd birthday, Norah Jones’ breakthrough debut album Come Away With Me proved an unexpected blessing, both for the young pianist/vocalist and her iconic record label, Blue Note Records. But a valid argument can be made that Jones’ inaugural affair has also proven a bit of a curse as her career has progressed in the sixteen-plus years since its arrival.
Come Away With Me represented the grand introduction of Jones’ prodigious musical talents and sophisticated songcraft, while showcasing her artistic appetite for blurring genre delineations across jazz, folk, and pop. But due to its ubiquity (27 million copies sold worldwide to date), and despite the prolific repertoire she has cultivated during the ensuing decade-and-a-half, the album remains the one record that far too many listeners most closely—and in some cases, exclusively—associate with her.
Their loss. For her complete oeuvre comprised of seven studio albums (including Foreverly, her 2013 Everly Brothers’ inspired duet album with Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong) and broad-ranging collaborations with the likes of Ryan Adams, Foo Fighters, Robert Glasper, Talib Kweli, The Peter Malick Group, Willie Nelson, OutKast, Q-Tip, and Wax Poetic, among many others, proves that she is undoubtedly one of the most versatile and sought-after creative forces in contemporary music. And even when her vocals can’t be heard, closer scrutiny of an album’s liner notes might just reveal that the ebony & ivory keys you discern belong to her (see Ryan Adams’ “Lucky Now” and a handful of other songs from his 2011 album Ashes & Fire).
In his review of Jones’ March 2017 performance at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre, Albumism’s Christopher A. Daniel contends that she “is evidence that even as digital streams and clicks determine which artists break through to audiences, being able to strictly concentrate on performance and evolving as a musician will give entertainers a longer shelf life.” Hence why we’re thrilled to explore her musical evolution with this special career-spanning, 60-tracks-deep tribute playlist, replete with her official singles, less familiar album tracks, rarities, covers, remixes, collaborations, and her just-released new single "My Heart Is Full." Happy listening!