By John Lynch, Senior Arts Editor
Published September 26, 2013
Frank Sinatra Jr.,
More like this
My first and, thus far, only encounter with your voice unexpectedly took place on a regular Sunday night of “Family Guy,” but I am certain that your father’s voice has haunted me since my birth or possibly before it.
Perhaps, in the same way that your talents were gifted to you by the lottery of conception, my love for In The Wee Small Hours was passed down genetically (skipping a generation to ensure my father’s inability to appreciate any music before the release of Bob Dylan) from my grandfather — the former English teacher and jazz aficionado whose vinyl library contained your father’s dark, 1955 masterpiece.
I found In The Wee Small Hours as a sophomore in high school and — caught up in the emotional turbulence of unrequited love — consequently began a routine of reflective late-night drives. Accompanied by no one and nothing but those 16 heartbroken songs, I purged every feasible channel of my mind — crying, wasting my father’s gas and feeling like my perpetually brooding grandfather must have felt while listening to the album, crying and doing whatever it was that depressive teenagers did in the 1950s.
One year later, each song from In The Wee Small Hours had claimed a spot at the top of my iTunes “Most Played,” and I had stopped giving a shit about high school. During that winter, I found a vinyl copy from a record store and the cashier told me to “keep the razor blades away while listening to this one.” My wrists are still unscarred, but my mind — the only type of mind that could call In The Wee Small Hours its favorite album — is not.
I have found solace, though, as I imagine you have as well, in crooning my sorrows away, attempting to imitate your father’s perfect voice and singing about women that I’ll always love and perhaps never actually meet. Much to the chagrin and bewilderment of my parents and friends, I’ve effectively become Frank Sr. on the cover of In The Wee Small Hours: a troubled artist that wanders under the street lights at night, smoking an occasional cigarette and pondering words and sounds and life — except I can’t actually rock a fedora.
As you can see, I really think it’s a shame that most people haven’t heard your father’s work outside of the Greatest Hits. His collection of music is so brilliant and unbelievably vast, and though my appreciation for all of his work continues to grow, I can’t imagine how any one piece of music could affect me the way In The Wee Small Hours has. When I came home from college for the first time last year and found that my vinyl copy of the album had been misplaced and wrecked, I momentarily lost the same part of me that you lost forever on May 14, 1998.
A Damaged Soul