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Published January 23, 2013

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.

The first I really heard of Billie Holiday was in Clueless. There’s a small gag where Cher tells the guy she has a crush on that she “loves him (Holiday)”.

For those that don’t get the joke, Billie Holiday is a woman. Hilarity all round!

Anyway, I listened to Holiday’s Lady in Satin for New Classics, which was a pleasant experience. Older music (around the 1950s) has a different quality to it (see the New Classics’ look at In the Wee Small Hours and Elvis Presley).

Lady in Satin

Not unlike Frank Sinatra’s In The Wee Small HoursLady in Satin has a melancholy feel, backed with an orchestra. All of the songs are about love, which might have been tedious for singers with less depth and soul in their voices, but Billie Holiday’s voice never gets old.

It’s filled with slow, soulful, classic pop songs, all songs that Holiday hadn’t recorded before this album.

This is one of her last albums, and you can hear it in her voice – there’s a maturity there that really only develops over time. She wasn’t even 43 when this album was recorded, but her voice sounds like the voice of someone much older. According to Allmusic, a lot of her range was gone by the time she got around to recording Lady in Satin. Luckily, I’m not fussy. She sounds somewhat tired, but still terribly beautiful.

And that’s really enough for me in an album.

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