Norah Jones taps into her dark side

Singer Norah Jones performs during the 15th annual Webby Awards in New York June 13, 2011....

Singer Norah Jones performs during the 15th annual Webby Awards in New York June 13, 2011. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

Jane Stevenson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:57 AM ET

Norah Jones' dreamy, darker new album may be called Little Broken Hearts but the 33-year-old singer-songwriter says not to read too much into it.

"It's just relationships (in general), not (mine) specifically," says Jones, despite Rolling Stone reporting she'd written "in the wake of a harsh break-up with her fiction-writer boyfriend."

"I'm fine! I've had my heart broken (in the past). We all have. It's not to be taken like such a (puts on teary voice), 'Here's my diary!' We all have personal things in our lives that we draw on when we create whatever it is we're creating. But nobody's been murdered. It's all highly dramatized."

Still, the disc does boast haunting, hurtin' love songs with titles like She's 22, 4 Broken Hearts, and Miriam, the latter a murder ballad which seems to implicate a friend stepping out with Jones' man in her own home.

Not so, says Jones, who broke through to the masses a decade ago with her debut, Come Away With Me.

"She's a character," insists Jones, who was inspired by songs like Dolly Parton's Jolene and Loretta Lynn's Fist City.

"I think we all have that (dark side) somewhere and sometimes it doesn't come out until something happens or maybe you're just afraid to let it out. I'm pretty much not a dark person. I don't know if I would call myself optimistic. If I talk s--- about somebody it's in an optimistic way," she adds laughing.

Subject matter aside, Jones' hookup with hip hop-rock producer Danger Mouse (The Black Keys, Gorillaz, Gnarls Barkely, Beck) on Little Broken Hearts made for her most dramatically different sounding album yet with distorted vocals, fuzzy guitars and electronic flourishes.

"I think on the last album (2010's The Fall, which dealt with the breakup from Jones' longtime bass player boyfriend Lee Alexander) I was really excited to switch things up sonically and I was really wanting to find some different sounds," she says.

"I'm not a gearhead and I needed somebody to make that happen."

Enter Danger Mouse, whose real name is Brian Burton.

His only caveat, she said, was that they write together from scratch.

"I was so stoked to actually write that way because for me it was so different," she says.

The duo initially wrote for five days in 2009 but their conflicting schedules led them to postpone the collaboration.

In the end, the New York-based Jones rented an L.A. house and they wrote and recorded in two months.

"It's tiny. It's very dark. It's pretty crammed with instruments," she says of Burton's L.A. studio, separate from his house.

"He does so many different things that I knew (working with him) was a bit of a wild card -- in a good way


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