13 February 2006

frank sinatra - "glad to be unhappy" (from the in the wee small hours lp, available for purchase here.)

in brief : frankie & nelson : a relationship that will stand the test of time.

any time one selects a song from the great american songbook, he or she must fight the temptation to merely reproduce the lyrics. there is a reason, after all, it's known as the great american songbook : these songs are not only plainspoken, w/ds here and there to the vernacular, but they're also profoundly poetic; one is never left in doubt as to what the song means and yet at the same time, on another frequency, the song performs a clever, witty exegesis of itself, almost obviating the need for the critic.


in the wee small hours, as you might know or guess, operates at the unhappy end of the mercury stick, somewhere north of the frigid only the lonely and the hyperborean no one cares. "glad to be unhappy," along w/ "dancing on the ceiling" and "i'll be around," is about as balmy as it gets : think high-40's in the deeps of winter : not great but unexpected given the season. the hour proves to be exceptionally wee here, no 3am heartache but more of a 4am delirium

"glad to be unhappy" is great no matter the season, but esp. heartwarming during the build-up to valentine's day. "unrequited love's a bore," frank deadpans--too true, too true. and though no ladies are feeling sympathetic to frank, nelson riddle remains true in his own particular way, never stealing the scene--even after countless listens, i had to replay to find that he employs guitar and celeste and little else--but always making it possible. he truly doesn't seem to mind that no one notices him; he perfectly understands it, esp. when frank is giving a masterclass in singing, vide the seven syllable section from 1:32-1:38, for one. in his heart, he remembers how uniformly piss-poor frank's a capella sessions were during that union strike, and he knows for sure that when the session's over the drinks and the laughs are on frank.

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