In the United States, Norah Jones has held the No. 1 and No. 24 spots in the Billboard top 100, and is No. 1 in many countries around the world. In Ireland, Jones’ sophomore album is No. 1 and her first album is ranked No. 2. She walked away with an armload of Grammys and continues to earn praise from numerous critics.
She did so all without the help of a multimillion-dollar promotional campaign. She didn’t appear on Rolling Stone covering bare breasts with her arms, nor did she perform live and have a “wardrobe malfunction.” Her concerts are simple: Norah, her band and her piano. The venue can put away the fog machine, the colorful light/laser display. There is no reason to fear the venue burning down because she doesn’t even use fire or any other explosions.
Her music may not appeal to all, and it may not even be great music, but it is honest. She is having fun, entertaining herself and allowing us to go along for the ride.
While Britney Spears, Alicia Keys and others have blitzed us with bright lights, sexy bodies and million-dollar promotional campaigns, in an attempt to woo us into buying their albums, we have not responded to them as we have to Norah Jones.
It is her honesty that is selling albums. The people who buy her albums and attend her concerts are hoping to be a part of that honesty, because honesty is a rare commodity these days.
At home, we deal with a president who is gearing up for a re-election campaign, and while he has every right to spend all the money he has raised (well more than $100 million) to assure he has four more years at the helm, he leaves many yearning for something a little more honest.
He selfishly uses Sept. 11 as his call to arms. We are expected to relive that tragic day and assume that it was Bush who has kept us safe all these years, but when it comes down to an investigation of how the current administration could have prevented it or handled the aftermath, he runs away.
Bush proclaims himself a war president, yet he started all the wars we are in now, and it is admittedly on faulty intelligence that U.S. citizens are shedding their blood on foreign soil to overthrow a man his father hated more than we do.
As November inches closer, will honesty prevail as it did with Norah Jones?
Is John Kerry the right choice for this country? Is he our Norah Jones? Is George Bush the overhyped recording artist that we have tired of because we want something more honest?
The people will speak in November. The Billboard charts, the Presidential race, it will all reflect what we wish to be: No. 1.