Music

Review: Billie Joe and Norah – ‘Foreverly’

"Billie Joe and  Norah: Foreverly"

It doesn’t seem like the most natural fit at first sight. The idea of Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong releasing an album with Norah Jones may make listeners imagine a strange jazz/soul/pop-punk fusion album, but on ‘Foreverly’, the woman behind “my heart is drenched in wine” and the man behind “do you have the time to listen to me whine?” are paying tribute to rock-and-roll duo The Everly Brothers in the form of a reinterpretation of 1958’s ‘Songs Our Daddy Taught Us’. With Green Day straying from their initial pop punk formula on recent albums and Norah Jones having collaborated with everyone from Outkast to Herbie Hancock, it’s fair to say that this collaboration isn’t as strange as it may initially seem, but the combination of two such different artists still presents an opportunity for an album that could go two ways.

The Everly Brothers’ close harmonies mean that Armstrong and Jones’ voices are usually side-by-side. More a departure for Armstrong than it is for Jones, it is clear from opener ‘Roving Gambler’ this album is a lot better and more authentic than some listeners may have feared. The male/female partnership in contrast to two brothers helps bring an interesting twist to the original and – even though Jones’ voice is the more comfortable-sounding of the two – Armstrong shows himself to be easily one of the most diverse singers of his genre. Lower-range tracks such as ‘Who’s Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Feet?’ suit the pair particularly well, and ‘Put My Little Shoes Away’ with a more minimalistic piano accompaniment than the original is an effective way to show the blending of voices as the album comes to a close.

It’s not going to shake the musical landscape in the same way ‘Dookie’, ‘Come Away With Me’ or ‘Songs Our Daddy Taught Us’ did, but despite being a strange idea on paper, ‘Foreverly’ is delivered with a respect and admiration for the American greats, to produce a result that is a worthwhile and enjoyable listen for fans of both artists. Don’t Know Why? Possibly. Basket Cases? Not entirely fair.

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