Posts Tagged ‘Frank Sinatra’


A jukebox musical, whatever its dramatic blueprint, is first and foremost a delivery vehicle for nostalgia. This is a popular thing and to a great extent a good one. It is no easy trick, though. Almost every song tells some sort of story. The stories in most songs, even the simplest ones, imply surprisingly extensive contexts, and taken together, these contexts tangle rapidly. There exist only a few possible fundamental ways to minimize those tangles.


As the sun was sliding down the horizon, carrying her away, the song in my cassette player was Teach Me Tonight, in Al Jarreau’s then-recently-released version. I kept replaying it, and it made me feel a little better.

Music in the Dark

Sometimes darkness makes the music more intense, especially music about things you can only see in the dark. This one is about that experience.

“Kate,” Part II

Kate, I guess, continued to date that other guy, Jim, until the school year ended. That summer, she was somewhere else. I knew she was out of town, and yet somehow, I kept finding reasons to visit her home. Not knocking, not asking if anyone else was there. Just walking by. That fall, the fall of 1966, the Four Seasons came out with a song that expressed exactly how I felt, their cover of Cole Porter’s immortal I’ve Got You Under My Skin.


Damn! This was stereo! I just kept playing it. I’d keep coming back to those two speakers and the fact that I could close my eyes and lose myself in an imaginary space. I was so taken with the sound that the music almost didn’t matter to me for a while. Eventually I stopped listening to the sound and started paying attention to the record. I’m not sure I found the music overwhelming. I think the effect was subtle, like the very sound of the bossa nova itself. Still that rich Nelson Riddle orchestral palette elucidated part of the truth about bossa nova, which is that, while it may be quiet and subtle, it’s often about passion and excitement. It’s not just in the breathless frustrated eroticism of The Girl From Ipanema On this very album you can hear Surfboard, which somehow captures the thrill of waiting for and then riding a wave.And then there’s Samba Do Avião, which is about riding a plane coming in for a landing at Rio de Janeiro’s Galeão Airport, and looking down at the town as one goes.


But by the same token when you hear expressions of longing like I Get A Kick Out of You and All Through the Night, you cannot be blind to the fact that the lyricist knew a thing or two about the emotional side of love as well. He knew about being in love when the object of your affections doesn’t reciprocate.