Sinatra's flop turns out to be true rediscovery

Whenever Frank Sinatra sings the words ‘goodbye’ there is something different to feel. It’s her decision to go, so she says it apparently easily. But there is his impotence over the parting, the questions, the suppressed sadness and the instant loss, and then something that looks like resignation – the left-behind can do little about it. ‘Goodbye (She Quietly Says)’ is one of the gems on Sinatra’s reissue watertown from 1970. Based on master tapes from 1969, the sound quality has improved and it is a true rediscovery.

watertown has been described in music history as a somewhat misunderstood concept album, a flop too. The story on it – restless woman ‘unexpectedly’ leaves her family, husband raises kids – was wrong at the time. But how Sinatra got under the skin of the man left behind, putting emotion into the words: defeated, but gradually with resilience; it’s really special. Moving too. A song like ‘Michael & Peter’ is wonderfully intense.

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