Frank Sinatra, Where Are You?

Will Friedwald

By Will Friedwald

on 05.18.11 in Reviews

Where Are You?

Frank Sinatra
Heavy laments to lost love and loneliness

These heavy laments to lost love and loneliness are too classically entrenched to be described as "saloon songs"; the mood is more Henrik Ibsen than Eugene O'Neill, more Tchaikovsky than Billie Holiday. Jenkins's grandiose, sweeping approach works best on songs with an epic sweep in their words and music, like "I Cover the Waterfront." (I never realized before what a big, empty place the waterfront is, and what a lot of ground the hero has to cover here.) In Leonard Bernstein's "Lonely Town," he's not just playing an individual lonely guy in a town somewhere, but Sinatra and Jenkins describe an entire city of vast, epic emptiness, a man alone with only about 100 violinists to keep him company. It's a beautiful, quirky album, fully justifying the idiosyncrasies of the two collaborators. Their 1959 reunion on Capitol, No One Cares, is almost as good, and there are two particularly brilliant Sinatra-Jenkins team ups in the 1960s, All Alone (rendered entirely in 3/4) and September of My Years (rendered entirely in contemplative songs about the passage of time).