Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Frank Sinatra: Everything Happens to Me [Reprise, 1996]
The Chairman on Reprise is a study in why artists shouldn't own record companies. My researches into a catalogue that runs to some 100 LPs have yet to uncover a single title that comes near the great Capitols, and the compilations are not to be trusted. So rather than spending $60 for the choppy 81-song box, try this 20-song oddity, supposedly programmed by Frank himself at age 79 and duplicating only seven box selections. It anoints more Don Costas than Nelson Riddles and is surprisingly scant on the Tin Pan Alley pantheon, the defining factor is tempo, almost always moderate or less, accentuating the autumnally ruminative mood of the songs and the old man who looked back on them so fondly. It ain't, to choose the Capitol remaster I've just glommed onto, Songs for Young Lovers/Swing Easy! But from the "suddenly you're a lot older" of the 1981 lead track, there's character here no callow 40-year-old would stoop to. A