Here the Billie Joe is he of Green Day, the Norah is she of Jones – Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones, when the press release was doing the rounds a few people assumed it a joke. The finished product – Foreverly, a tribute album to The Everlys, in fact a recreation of their own album Songs Our Daddy Taught Us – is in fact no joke.
It’s pretty good actually.
No surprise where Norah is concerned, she’s on a good run of late, adding distance to the dud early records (which of course were a huge success – just a bit snooze-inducing). The last few years she’s shown with her Little Willies side-project and her own very good albums that she’s got more to say than any record label-ushered project might have suggested. She’s not the enemy.
Billie Joe though. That guy, if I could rewrite a great Garageland song, is an arsehole. And if this album is an act of contrition for inflicting the last three Green Day albums on the world – well it’s…a start…he’s got a long way to go, considering that – for the longest time – Green Day has been circling the nadir of music, taking a piss in the open windows of the nadir of music.
So the real surprise here isn’t that Norah Jones is on a good record – it’s that Billie Joe has nearly made a good record. It’s that Norah was prepared to work with this musical schlub.
Their voices sound good together – and it isn’t actually that much of a surprise listening to this through, it makes sense that Billie Joe mighta been an Everlys fan. Hate Green Day all you can (and you should) when they were having a go at being good they were just making another form of pop music. An almost okay version from time to time.
Did this record need to happen? No
Is it a shame that this record was the one to get all the grieving Fair-Weatherly-Everly fan support rather than the superior record made by Dawn and Bonnie ‘Prince’? Yes!
Will this record change the world? Of course not.
But it doesn’t hurt that it’s here. It’s easy to like – might convert a few new fans. And there’s always that slim chance that Billie Joe might disband Green Day forever as the result of this. Right? Right?