New Classics: ‘In The Wee Small Hours’
New Classics is classic albums, movies, TV shows, books, and other pop culture-y things revisited by young people who haven’t listened, read or watched them before. We don’t bother rating them, because they’re classics for a reason.
In The Wee Small Hours – Frank Sinatra (1955)
Frank Sinatra is a name that most people (including me) have heard of, but that’s really far as his current cultural cachet extended in my life. But a little bit of research shows that Sinatra is kind of a badass. He won over a dozen Grammys, a number of Academy Awards and Golden Globes, and an assload of various awards for being an awesome guy.
In The Wee Small Hours is something you could imagine playing in the background of your quirky, old-fashioned romantic comedy. It’s actually pretty refreshing, because most music with male vocalists these days (that I’ve noticed) are tenors. So a baritone with Sinatra’s richness of tone is really quite lovely to listen to.
The entire album is tinged with a kind of melancholy, which is backed up by a mournful, expressive string section. According to Rolling Stone, Frank Sinatra is pop music, at least classic pop music. Compare him to most artists these days, and it might be hard to see how the strings-laden, broody accompaniment and soulful singing inspired the heavily electronic, Auto-tuned pop on the radio right now.
But there are age old themes here – loneliness, depression, romance – that are still sung about now. And the idea of a concept album? People (important people, no doubt) point to In The Wee Small Hours as one of the first concept albums. Take that, Pink Floyd!
Regardless, any fan of chilled out, bluesy vocal jazz should give this a listen. Or even if you just want music to feel slightly melancholy to.
Look at yourself, do you still believe the rumor
That romance is simply grand?
With those kinds of lyrics, how can you not find this album charming and a little sad?