Tripping Through Time is a blog series where I *mostly* follow the book ‘1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die’ by Robert Dimery. This is my experience listening to most of these albums for the first time, and my reflections upon them as a Scandinavian millennial.
Being a Swede, I don’t think I’ve been exposed to Frank Sinatra outside of the Christmas compilations my parents used to be playing during the holidays. Though his voice is so distinct I feel like I’ve been listening to him sing all my life, and I very much have, but through movie soundtracks. The latest instance of this being twice in Blade Runner 2049.
Listening to this album is quite exciting for me as I’m just scratching the surface of the Great American Songbook. ‘In The Wee Small Hours’ is also one of the first concept albums, focusing on lost love, depression and introspection. In an era where albums tended to behave more as collections of singles.
I instantly fell for the album art, the way it conveys the overall feeling and mood of the album by illustrating Frank holding a cigarette while contemplating the very things he’s woefully singing about.
Not having actively listened to any music from the 50s before, I’m definitely surprised to how timeless these tracks really are. Sinatra’s ability to portray emotions may be unparalleled by anything I’ve ever heard before. It seems these songs are often called ‘Ava Songs’, as the album came about shortly after his separation with actor Ava Gardner.