The Anti-Britney.Posted: September 16, 2007
A different kind of singer, in a different kind of televised display. Rosemary Clooney, with the Hi-Lo’s, singing what is certainly a definitive, and quite possibly the definitive, version of Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer’s “Blues in the Night,” arrangement by Nelson Riddle. From her weekly TV show in the fifties. The command and control are awe-inspiring. If you’re not overwhelmed at first, keep watching. You will be.
The wonder of Clooney is the way the sound of her voice–the very sound, as if she can sing no other way–at once conveys humor and melancholy. Even in her happiest, most swinging rendition there is a slight catch in the throat that portends the possibility of sadness; even at her bitterest there is an ironic intelligence in the soundwave that bespeaks a sense of humor that will somehow get her through. Other singers might give you both sides of destiny’s coin at one time or another, but rarely at the same time, and not in each and every note. The result of this vocal bipolarity isn’t confusion, but a communication of something like the full range of life’s possibilities.