When Billie Joe Armstrong announced he recorded an album with Norah Jones fans were stunned. When it was revealed that the album was full of Everly Brothers covers everyone was confused. But surprisingly the duo works extremely well. The album may not be for everyone and it’s not something that grips you, but the pair do a great job of reworking these songs and their voices blend together so beautifully.
I must admit I was stumped when I first learned about the album, but I thought I would give it a chance. While it wouldn’t be in my top ten and probably won’t make it to my regular playlist, there are some tracks that I quite enjoy and even found myself singing along with. The first is the opening track “Roving Gambler.” This song has a nice sound to it thanks to the mellow music only to be interrupted by a harmonica solo. Plus, Billie and Norah’s voices come together so well. Also, the tune is kind of catchy. It also seems to be the most upbeat on the album. Another great track is “Long Time Gone.”
I really didn’t know what to think of the song when I first heard it, but after hearing the entire album its grown on me. It has this very warm feel to it, like something comforting. You just feel good when you hear it. Again, it’s one of the more catchy tracks on the album and while it’s not something you can really dance to, it’s nice to just sit and listen to the story unfold. Really all of the songs are enjoyable, but these are the two that caught my attention. Others like “Lightening Express” and “Oh So Many Years” don’t sound bad, but they’re not songs I could listen to over and over again.
The album as a whole is rather enjoyable, but I think you either have to be a fan of the Everly Brothers or in the right mood to listen to it repeatedly. There aren’t many songs that keep your attention for very long and some of them are easy to tune out. It’s nice as background music, but most of it never comes front and center. It’s easy listening meaning it’s very relaxing and at times down right depressing. Songs like “Down in the Willow Garden” and “Barbara Allen” tell somber stories dealing with love lost, family, and death. Granted the songs do tell some interesting stories, but personally the album moves too slow for my tastes. I think it’s more of something you would listen to once in a while, rather than every day.
Even though the album didn’t do much for me, I’m still glad I took time to listen to it. As I mentioned, it is enjoyable and is nice and mellow to listen to once in a while. I also love the idea of Billie Joe branching out and showing what a versatile musician he is. Not only does it show that he can successfully cross over into other genres, but it shows he’s a fan of various kinds of music. Also, this record reaches out to several audiences, including Green Day fans. This serves as a great introduction to the Everly Brothers and maybe even to a different genre of music they might have avoided otherwise. The album was risky, but very ambitious and works surprisingly well.
Overall, the record gets 7/10. This release isn’t meant for everyone, but at least the two musicians sound good together. The album is pretty good and for the most is very mellow and nice to listen to, but I think you have to be in the right mood in order to get through it. It’s an interesting project and I hope that it inspires Billie and other musicians to get out of their comfort zone and try new things.