Don’t Know Why Norah Jones Is Hot?

Critics of Hip-Hop Do. “Even that bastion of gravitas, the New York Times editorial page, felt compelled to weigh in on The Norah Question, offering the interesting theory that Jones’ popularity among her core audience of baby boomers reflects widespread desire for musical consolation in difficult times.

But what exactly is troubling these millions of middle-aged listeners who seek solace in the music of a woman young enough to be their daughter? Is it the war in Iraq? The sputtering economy?

A better answer may be found elsewhere on the pop charts. Jones’ was not the only Billboard milestone last week: For only the second time in history, all of the Top 10 singles were by African American artists. More precisely: All of the songs were by hip-hop performers. A quarter of a century after the American mainstream first encountered hip-hop’s radical revision of the pop-song form — replacing sung verses and traditional instrumentation with syncopated speech and dense, machine-generated rhythms — the genre’s conquest of hit radio is complete.

The difference between the songs on “Feels Like Home” and those topping the singles chart could not be more stark.” —LA Times