Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim
1967/1998: Reprise 9 46948-2
Sinatra at his most gorgeous, as far as Ive heard. There is a lushness and a poised passion here that is intensely touching and intimate; the combination of the overabundance of the orchestration (typical of its day in that, but not as overblown in this as was usually the case) and the simpler grace of Jobims guitar is sultry and engaging, creating a nighttime lounge both plush and hip, but Sinatras voice atop it all gently brings it all together and puts the listener directly in front of a wistful late-night singer in that context (if not in the body of the singer himself).
I should call out specific tracks for further commentary, but really theres no track on this album that I wouldnt say all the above about. What varies from song to song is not the overall sound but the emotional cast he gives it. There are highlights, of course, but perhaps predictably the opening track isnt one of themalthough that might just be a Me thing, as Ive never gotten into that song in the first place regardless of whose recording I was hearing it was before my time in perhaps some strange time-hiccup that has kept it from me (as is the case with the Three Stooges, by the way, but I hasten to add that there is no link between the two situations I hope ).
Despite its kicky Im Candyfly me! 60s-fluff opening, Change Partners is all-but-bursting with longing and seduction, elegantly held in check within polite social boundaries while conveying at least a double meaning with impressive subtlety.
Once I Loved is so beautiful that I just want to curl up in a big chair and sympathize when I hear it commandingly moving. Baubles, Bangles, and Beads was a surprise for me: although this album was one of my introductions to Sinatra and his truly impressive versatility and emotional range, this song was the one fun track here and still sustained the albums delicacy and sultriness, all the while Sinatra gives us an astonishing mix of slickster indifference and fully smitten testimony about a womans captivating charms.
Although I love this album overall, with certain tracks shining a bit more than others, in the final analysis I must say that I Concentrate on You is the one that touches me most and ensorcells me absolutely every time I hear it: the gentle bossa-nova instrumentation is a coy and flirtatious beach across which Sinatras profound ponderer slowly strides by moonlight . The lyrics are perfect, the musics perfect, and Sinatras voicing of it all still outshines everything else; the only thing wrong with this track is that it ends. And at a mere two minutes and thirty-eight seconds! Criminal .
Comments © 2005 Mark Ellis Walker, except as noted, and no claim is made to the images and quoted lyrics.