As I wrote this last week, I was aboard a cruise ship somewhere between ports in the Bahamas and St. Thomas in the Caribbean. Our family absolutely loves going on cruises; our last one was four years ago and we've been saving in one form or another for this one ever since, including racking up enough points on the cruise line's Visa for two of us to get the trip free and driving instead of flying to our departure point. We booked our trip eight months ago, and it was almost surreal to finally be on board the ship.
I was actually relieved that the internet access was $35 an hour on the ship because it kept me from being tempted to constantly check my work email and I really felt like I was away from everything. The only downside to the lack of internet access could be appreciated by the other music geeks like me: I was not able to download any new music last week when it was released. Specifically, I had been looking forward to the new Kanye West album that was being released last week. I know he's a self centered jerk a lot of the time; he was mean to Taylor Swift last year at the VMAs and he hurt Dubya's feelings when he said he didn't care about black people after Hurricane Katrina. I can't help it, though- I still love his music. Alas...
Because I have an abnormal preoccupation with music, I always like to make sure I have something new to listen to on a vacation; however, that is not as easy as it sounds. It has to be something that I'm not familiar with, BUT I also have to know that I'm going to like it. It's a tricky combination. I was starting to panic before we left on our vacation because I did not have anything queued up for my trip when I happened upon my answer while in Starbucks. Leave it to Starbucks to help me out of a jam.
I picked up the absolute perfect vacation CD: "...Featuring Norah Jones". Normally I might not necessarily gravitate toward Norah Jones. She has a beautiful voice, but her songs sort of all have the same sound and I am usually up for something new and different. In this case, my prediction about her was right on the money. On the one hand, I pretty much knew that Norah was not going to give me any crazy or unpleasant surprises. On the other hand, the fact that this was a duet album and each of the 18 songs was sung with someone different made things a little interesting.
There were two songs on the album that I already knew, one with Ray Charles from his duet album and the other with Dolly Parton from one of Norah's previous albums. She definitely mixed things up with her partners, who included Foo Fighters, Willie Nelson, OutKast, Q-Tip, Belle & Sebastian and Herbie Hancock. The great thing about duets is the mixture of the voices together, and Norah has such a pretty voice that she can hardly go wrong.
I was surprised to find that one of my favorite songs was the one with Willie Nelson, "Baby It's Cold Outside" since I am not normally a huge fan of Willie's. I also liked "Bull Rider" with Sasha Dobson and "Take Off Your Cool" with OutKast, that being an actual OutKast song. Finally, I really liked the song with Q-Tip, "Life is Better". It has a catchy tune and lyrics with a rap interlude by Q-Tip; it's a combination that works, especially since you wouldn't normally expect it in a Norah Jones song. My least favorite was the song with Herbie Hancock, but that's probably because I'm not a jazz fan.
My one gripe is that the album does not seem to be available on iTunes, but overall I recommend "...Featuring Norah Jones". From now on, I'm hoping that whenever I listen to this album, I'll be transported to my chair on Deck 12 overlooking the sea floating past while lying in the sun covered in SPF 50 suntan lotion. Not a bad association!