〶 Empty Is 〶

 

What can you say about Frank Sinatra that hasn’t already been said, even when he talks through Rod McKuen’s words. Sinatra fully inhabits the poet’s portraits of melancholy men nursing their somber moods, no more so than on ‘Empty Is’…

Empty Is‘ comes from the 1969 release of ‘A Man Alone: The Words & Music of McKuen’, considered by many as a “forgotten masterpiece”.

At the time, poet/songwriter Rod McKuen was a bona fide pop-culture phenomenon. Sinatra tapped into the wordsmith’s work for this album of McKuen tunes and poems

Dramatic musical arrangements, luscious string accompaniments, and Sinatra’s powerful interpretation of introspective lyrics, all themed around loneliness

Empty Is‘ opens with a spoken monologue – setting a dark atmosphere, evolving with breezy string arrangements. Rolling jazz piano keys turn back the clock to Sinatra’s Capitol torch song era. The occasional muted brass bed, softly plucked harp stings, and walking bass line — raising the tempo and crescendo perfectly. But only where the crooned lyrics demand it.

Here we have Frank Sinatra at his interpretive best on this provocative recording about a man facing life alone. A sobering thought: living your life apart from others. Sinatra, not a person one would think could adequately address this subject matter…Yet he does so in a profound and unforgettable way.

In doing so, he creates a masterpiece of music and lyrics.

 

RIYL: Andy Williams, Charles Aznavour