Sailing smooth

Norah Jones is a lovely young woman with a lovely young voice who sings jazz-inflected songs of romance in a manner that can only be called consoling. Her first album, “Come Away With Me,” earned her a double armful of Grammys last year and the attention of the entire music industry. Her second album, “Feels Like Home,”

has just been released. It sold more than a million copies in its first week.

As it happens, Jones’s big week coincided with a big week for music sales in general. But then any week when a newly released album sells a million copies is going to look good by recent industry standards, especially if it also happens to overlap with Valentine’s Day. Jones’s numbers make record executives hopeful that a recovery in their troubled business is just around the corner. The psychology of the recording industry, like that of book publishing, is now dependent on blockbuster sales. The business depends on the hundred-year flood, not a steady rain.

There is no begrudging Jones her success. Part of her attraction is that she seems to be pursuing the art as it appeals to her, without pandering to her audience.

The industry will no longer be talking about Norah Jones; it will be talking about “a Norah Jones” or “the next Norah Jones,” who comes out of nowhere to rescue the bottom line once again. — The New York Times