A piece of music re-emerged between the moments of the New Year rising and last week's move back into the  rhythm that drives Renew: Frank Sinatra's In The Wee Small Hours.

His is a smooth rendering, sleek and intimate over sparse orchestration that alternatively pokes and shimmers its way around the warmth of his voice.

Click to hear In The Wee Small Hours from the album of the same name.

In an article titled "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold" published in the April 1966 issue of Esquire, Gay Talese wrote:

Sinatra's intonation, precisely clipped, yet full and flowing, gave a deeper meaning to the simple lyrics -- "In the wee small hours of the morning/while the whole wide world is fast asleep/you lie awake, and think about the girl..." - it was, like so many of his classics, a song that evoked loneliness and sensuality, and when blended with the dim light and the alcohol and nicotine and late-night needs, it became a kind of airy aphrodisiac.

Both the song and the words about the song all point to a version of the past, a small window into American life in mid-20th Century mainstream or predominant culture at once warm and sinister. Contextually idyllic and classically patriarchal. Free and oppressed.

 


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