[1] Frank Sinatra – In the Wee Small Hours (1955)


Abr 2 2008, 20h01

Good thing Frank Sinatra is so popular: it only takes a small walk to the library 100 meters from my door to find this album. I guess it won’t be that easy for the other albums… Frank Sinatra is listed in the “Popular music”-category, and that is actually also the idea I have of him. He made the kind of music your grandparents listen to: nice but a little dated. It’s great to sing along with ‘New York New York’ and ‘Strangers in the night’, but when you listen to his best of album you’ve about heard it… Right?

Wrong of course! This album proves to all those big-headed “youngsters” like me, who think that better music is made in the present, that a 50 year old album can still be worth listening to. I read somewhere that this album was one of the first concept albums, and so it is. During the whole album, 16 songs, 50 minutes, there is only one theme: a broken heart (the album was made after Sinatra’s break-up with Ava Gardner). And damn, that leads to an astoundingly beautiful album. The kind you listen to again and again, even when you don’t have a heartache.

Every song gives you the feeling that you’re living in the 50s, sitting in a bar: a little orchestra on the left and on the right just a lonely singer with a cigarette in his hand. The songs have beautiful arrangements, and could all be coming from a movie soundtrack. Sometimes you even wish Sinatra would wait a little longer before starting to sing.

But it’s actually the lyrics that deserve most of the credit. To give some examples:
In the wee small hours of the morning
That’s the time you miss her most of all

(In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning)
Today the world is old
You flew away and time grew cold
Where is that star
That seemed so bright
Ages ago… last night

(Last Night When We Were Young)

Because you hear him that often, you would almost forget that Frank Sinatra has a more than beautiful voice. He can evoke emotions just by singing the words differently than someone else would. Even a cheesy line like ‘You took my heart and threw my heart away’ sounds heartbreaking coming from him.

So, of course this album is a little dated (it is more than 50 years old!) and sometimes Sinatra really sings so slo-o-ow, but that doesn’t make it less of a beauty, so I can only repeat what the book says: “Probably the best break-up album ever made”.

(Pareltjes: In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning, Can't We Be Friends?, What Is This Thing Called Love, It Never Entered My Mind)


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