Frank Sinatra : Concepts

Album cover art for upc 724352300426
Catalog: 230042
Format: CD

Frank Sinatra's Capitol albums, cut between 1953 and 1961, comprise one of the most important bodies of work in the history of American pop. Collected in the newly repackaged 16-disc Concepts box set, they prove no less moving and revelatory than when they initially appeared. In his late 30s and 40s when the records were made, Sinatra brought a new sense of shading to his music, ensuring that each set held its own niche on the emotional and sonic spectrums. The revered ballad albums, for instance, range from the rueful (In the Wee Small Hours) to the near-suicidal ("'Scuse me while I disappear" is as definitive a moment on Only the Lonely as the more well-known "One for My Baby"), while the string-quartet backing of Close to You and the revival of the wittily sad-eyed 1940s nugget "Why Try to Change Me Now" on No One Cares deepen each LP's meaning. At the same time, Sinatra slyly celebrated romance and its conventions on the likes of Songs for Swingin' Lovers! and A Swingin' Affair! The latter in particular plays as both an invitation to the floor (except when it's explicitly not, on the raised-eyebrow "I Won't Dance") and the personal statement of a man who makes both the utterly passionate ("Night and Day") and the utterly wiseass ("I Wish I Were in Love Again") fly. Finally, the inclusion not only of the Sinatra-conducted instrumental set Tone Poems of Color but of a number of otherwise currently unavailable vocal discs in Concepts makes the box something of a must for those who would fully dig this fully dig-able run of creative genius. --Rickey Wright