Listen Up: Wednesday, February 9, 2005
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A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Nancy Sinatra

Nancy Sinatra (Sanctuary)

By Justin Press

She is forever burned into our collective memory as the white go-go boots-sporting mod chick that jumped out of the English club scene of the late 1960s and into our American homes. Incredibly charismatic, the Chairman of the Board’s daughter was always a bona fide sex kitten, with a monotone voice that was one part Eartha Kitt and one part Shirley Bassey — minus the glitz.
Back from the past, Nancy Sinatra is now doing the Santana thing — rounding up a murderer’s row of talent and taking credit for everything. Some of the biggest names in popular music are involved: Morrissey, Jarvis Cocker, Adam Clayton, Pete Thomas, Larry Mullen, John Spencer, Thurston Moore — the list goes on. The diverse line-up is reflected in the eponymous disc’s sound, a solid yet mixed bag of blues, funk, country, and rock. “Ain’t No Easy Way Out” pits Spencer’s alley-cat howl against Sinatra’s charmingly flat come-hither delivery, making for an eerily enjoyable party. A similarly odd outing is “Don’t Mean Nothing,” an unabashed jaunt of skiffle guitar and piano that would be the perfect soundtrack to a good ol’ fashioned barroom fracas. Pete Yorn, surprisingly, carries the tune’s entire instrumentation on his back.
Sometimes, Nancy Sinatra’s vibe feels forced, like on “Don’t Let Him Waste Your Time,” a forgettable track that’s made worse by its sounding so dated (even though the number contains the gem of a line, “... then some skinny bitch walks by in hot pants”).
The strongest track on the record, “Let Me Kiss You,” is strong — period. Sounding like a cross between a moody James Bond theme and one of U2’s more memorable sonic excursions, the song is smoldering piece of heartbreak, chiefly courtesy of contributor Morrissey.
And what would a Nancy Sinatra record be with a tip of the hat to Dad. “Two Shots of Happy and One Shot of Sad” could have come from one of his Songs for Lovers albums — lonely, isolated, and shrouded in the fog of midnight memories and bourbon. Originally written for Frank but never recorded by him, “Two Shots” fits Nancy like a snakeskin dress. Mullen and Clayton shelve the bombast for nuance, and Don Randi (of Phil Spector fame) delicately handles the soft piano touches that color the song blue.
Nancy is more of a novelty than an actual performer, but — truth is — she’s got good taste. Nancy Sinatra covers a lot of ground and some of it pretty well. In other words, she’s still got it. — Justin Press


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