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Norah Jones Songs: 12 of Her Top Tracks, Ranked

Come away with us as we get blissfully swept away by the artist’s eclectic sound!

Success came fast and furious for Norah Jones after she burst onto the music scene in 2002 with her breakthrough album Come Away With Me. The debut release of Norah Jones songs thrust her into the Grammy arena the following year, where she pulled off a clean sweep by winning all five awards for which she was nominated.

Though she embraced the wins, the trophies themselves had ideas of their own. “There was [a] photo of me dropping one because I couldn’t keep them all in my arms,” Jones shared with Billboard of her cumbersome but glittering haul. “They’re heavy! You don’t want that on your toe.”

norah jones holding grammys
Norah Jones at the 45th Annual GRAMMY Awards (2003)Getty

That album topped the Billboard 200 charts for four nonconsecutive weeks, including right after her victorious evening, where she was honored as the Best New Artist and Come Away With Me was named both Album and Best Pop Vocal Album of the Year. “Don’t Know Why,” one of the most beloved Norah Jones songs, picked up two awards as well. “Just when I thought it couldn’t go [any higher], the Grammys happened, and it just went into the stratosphere,” she noted of her career’s trajectory. “So yeah, the Grammys changed my life.”

Now the artist — the daughter of famed Indian musician Ravi Shankar — is looking to continue her runaway success on March 8 with the release of her ninth studio album, Visions, whose lead-off single was fittingly titled “Running.” Its second single, “Staring at the Wall” and the rest of the tracks sound “kind of garage-y but also kind of soulful,” Jones shares of her latest effort, which finds her singing about “feeling free, wanting to dance, making it right, and [the] acceptance of what life brings,” according to its press release.

Norah jones singing; norah jones songs
Norah Jones (2023)Getty

Fans can also get a regular dose of unique Norah Jones songs and collaborations on her podcast “Norah Jones Is Playing Along,” which finds her — you guessed it! — playing along with a diverse lineup of musical guests that range from Mavis Staples, Chris Thile, and Rufus Wainwright to Questlove, the Foo FightersDave Grohl and Jones’ sister, sitarist Anoushka Shankar.

“It’s the way I came up as a musician, learning that not everybody comes from the same type of musical background. I’ll bet a lot of artists who don’t collaborate like this would get addicted to it. I’m always learning, trying new things, picking new ideas up along the way,” she told Music Connection about her love of partnering with other talents. “At heart, I’m a New York musician wanting to play with other musicians on various projects like I did before Come Away With Me.”

Norah Jones on stage
Norah Jones (2007)Getty

As we all eagerly await the new album — and her summer tour — let’s take a look back at the Norah Jones songs that made us fall in love with this incredible artist over the past 22 years.

12. “Carry On” (2016): Norah Jones songs

The video for this one will bring a tear to the eye, as an older couple connects in the kitchen and dances sweetly to this wonderful waltz, which The New York Times says “inhabits a Ray Charles-ish convergence of gospel, country and soul,” praising Jones for “balancing what once might have been against what still lies ahead” with her lyrics and emotive vocal delivery.

11. “I’m Alive” (2020)

“If there’s a darkness to this album, it’s not meant to be an impending sense of doom; it feels more like a human longing for connection,” Jones said of 2020’s Pick Me Up Off the Floor record, which is comprised of unreleased singles from previous projects. In this track, a collaboration with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, Jones “slashes her own silver lining into the haze of the modern news cycle,” as the album’s release notes. “She’s crushed by thoughts at night of men / Who want her rights and usually win / But she’s alive, oh she’s alive,” she sings, and though the lyrics are heavy, Stereogum notes, the dynamic song is “at once rootsy and jazzy, like settling into a comfortable sweater.”

10. “It’s Gonna Be” (2010): Norah Jones songs

Jones explained to Entertainment Weekly that the line “If a princess becomes human / Don’t stone her on a talk show” was inspired by society’s bad habit of building up celebs only to tear them down. “It’s like, with Paris Hilton going to jail and Britney Spears having a nervous breakdown and people wanting blood.… The thing that’s obvious is that they’re going through something, so leave them the f— alone,” she shared of the track, which features a cool drum element she’s described as “part Gene Krupa, part Adam Ant.”

9. “What Am I to You?” (2004)

“It is the second song I wrote after I moved to New York.… It was late at night and I had just come back from seeing some great music and I was inspired,” the artist has shared of this early gem, one of our favorite Norah Jones songs. The Band’s Levon Helm and Garth Hudson appear along with her on the stellar track, which made it to No. 1 on Billboard’s Adult Alternative Airplay chart.

8. “Here We Go Again” (2005): Norah Jones songs

Ray Charles invited Jones to duet on this 1967 song of his when he recorded it again in 2005 for his Genius Loves Company album. “I sang it right next to Ray, watching his mouth for the phrasing,” she shared with Billboard. “He was very sweet and put me at ease, which was great because I was petrified walking in there.” She didn’t have anything to worry about: The killer track won Grammy awards for Record of the Year and Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals. “It just shows how wonderful music can be. It’s at 100% with Ray Charles. How many millions of people has he made smile,” she asked while accepting Record of the Year honors, tears filling her eyes the second she mentioned her collaborator’s iconic name.

7. “Sunrise” (2004)

Jones earned a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for this charmer off her sophomore album. “It was written during a break in a tour. We were sleeping in a lot, and that’s kind of what the song is about,” she shared with Performing Songwriter. With ethereal and sweetly sung “ooohs” sprinkled throughout, it’s a great tune to turn to when you’re eying that snooze button.

6. “Chasing Pirates” (2009): Norah Jones songs

Jones has a knack for creating songs that really get stuck in your head, and this one’s no different. And it’s fitting, too, as she’s singing about being too preoccupied and distracted that she can’t fall asleep. “Now an ambulance screams while the silliest things / Are floppin’ around in my brain … And I don’t know how to slow it down / Oh, my mind’s racin’ from chasin’ pirates.” Whether you can or can’t sleep after listening to this one, the song is a buried treasure.

5. “Happy Pills” (2012)

We love a sassy kiss-off song, and this one is pretty perfect right out of the gates with its opening line: “Trying to pick up the pace / Trying to make it so I never see your face again.” Singing with a cool detached tone in her voice, Jones goes on to assure her ex that “With you gone / I’m alive / Makes me feel like I took happy pills.” And that’s a prescription we’d all like to pick up from the pharmacy!

4. “Not Too Late” (2007): Norah Jones songs

“I was lonely and sad and the world was kinda falling apart,” Jones told The Guardian about recording her third album, for which this is the title track. While you can hear those emotions plaguing her throughout this exquisitely beautiful song and the others, “Not Too Late” still offers a hopeful final message: “It’s not too late for love.”

3. “Thinking About You” (2006)

The “sexy, cocktail-party swing,” as Entertainment Weekly put it, of this Billboard No. 1 Adult Alternative Airplay hit is irresistible. “I guess it’s time for me to let you go / But I’ll be thinkin’ about you,” Jones sings, and you’ll be doing the same after listening to this winner, which she wrote in 1999 at age 20, almost a decade before she released it. “That song has always been in the back of my mind,” she said at the time. “I always thought of it as too much of a pop song for me. I thought maybe someone else could record it.” We’re sure glad she kept it for herself, however.

2. “Come Away With Me” (2002): Norah Jones songs

This title track off her debut record — and the whole record itself — “definitely has a looking-forward, hopeful, romantic quality to it, which was age-appropriate at the time,” Jones told Salon in 2022, joking, “I don’t even know how to do that sometimes now, because I am usually drawn to the sad lyric.” But the lyrics here are pure and magical, and they’re blissful to escape into: “Come away with me and we’ll kiss / On a mountaintop / Come away with me / And I’ll never stop loving you.”

1. “Don’t Know Why” (2002)

This Grammy-winning Record of the Year instantly hooked most listeners when Jones burst onto the scene, thanks to its soothing vibe, captivating piano playing, and the singer’s sublime vocals. Though it’s a cover of a Jesse Harris tune, Jones’ distinctive style and artistry shines through. “It was the first song we recorded and it was a completely live take,” she’s revealed. “I think it’s great when you can just go in and play and get a live take. That always sounds better, even if it’s not perfect. It sounds more honest somehow.”


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