Skip to content

Frank Sinatra’s “Cycles” Reviewed

 

Why did Frank Sinatra hook up with the nondescript journeyman producer Don Costa? Perhaps because his 1968, 46th album Cycles was a nondescript affair where Frank can’t make mainstream hits, “Both Sides Now,” “Little Green Apples,” “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” and “Gentle On My Mind,” his own. Surely anything Sinatra sang instantly belonged to him, and yet no. The versions here are  easy listening, not very good takes. Giving these MOR classics a steady over-orchestration for mid-life crises women of a certain age, Frank tries to tie a knot between American Standards he is perfect at and middle of the road pop folk songs from the late 1960s.

It isn’t that Don Costa was no Nelson Riddle, it is that he was no Sonny Burke, and it isn’t Frank’s inability to put his imprint on the album, it is his decision to keep it soft and mellow. The result is songs that don’t stand up to the originals. Both Glen Campbell and Dean Martin gave much more felt performances of “Gentle On My Mind,” John Hartford’s song was discovered by Glen who gave it a clever, country buzz and loner mystique, while Dean gave it a smooth, witty, persona fitting calm, and Frank… Frank just sticks on an orchestra and Don let’s the soft strings float in the background unruffled as Frank can’t bring to life “some other woman’s cryin’ to her mother cause she turned and I was gone” and slowing the song to a drip at the end doesn’t add pathos.

The other six songs on the album are not even well known and add nothing to Frank’s legend, despite “Rain In My Heart”‘s strongest vocal here – a highly traumatized Frank singing the pants off a bad song, the three songs in the middle “Pretty Colors,” the title track, and “Wandering,” the latter two written  by the New Christy Minstrels, Gayle Caldwell – a woman lost in time to us but a strong songwriter,  entirely unsuitable for Sinatra.

It is less that Cycles is a career changing album (though we wouldn’t be rid of Costa for a coupla albums), it is that in the midst of his career it was just a nothing much mainstream snoozer…

Grade: C+

 

Leave a Comment





Amazon_Smile_logo
LET-ME-HELP-LOGO

Support Let Me Help Inc by shopping at smile.amazon.com

The Earliest Bird 9-17-21 – 9-23-21 Top New Recorded Release, Lil Nas X’s “Montero” Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | September 17, 2021 |

Wanna get fucked up the ass? Get famous.

My Top 500 of the 20th Century

By Steve Crawford | September 17, 2021 |

a form of personal jesus

Press Releases For September: Here Are The Artists

By Alyson Camus | September 16, 2021 |

something he learned from his legendary uncle

Rolling Stone’s Latest Top 500 Greatest Songs of All Time List – Bye Bye, Boomer, Bye Bye

By Steve Crawford | September 16, 2021 |

how little this list has in common with the prior ones

Frank Sinatra’s “A Man Alone: The Words And Music Of McKuen” Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | September 16, 2021 |

a disquieted sadness permeates

Biding My Time: Thursday, September 16th, 2021

By Iman Lababedi | September 16, 2021 |

Someday they will match TM and AEG as one of the big three

The 2021 “Legends Of Vinyl’s “Gala Awards Night” New York DJs and Artists Hall Of Fame, Tuesday, September 14th, Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | September 15, 2021 |

we will pass, disco will live on with lov

Brief Encounters: New Album Releases 9-10-21 – 9-16-21 Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | September 15, 2021 |

¿No preferirías tener el modelo de este año?

Courtney Barnett Wants You To Remix Her New Songs

By Alyson Camus | September 15, 2021 |

play around with the different stems

Live Review: SohoJohnny Presents The Let Me Help, Inc 9/11 Fashion and Music Celebrity Benefit Gala Concert @Rumi Event Space 9/11/21

By Eileen Shapiro | September 14, 2021 |

The star studded, Red Carpet Let Me Help, Inc benefit was a celebration of New York City fashion week, as well as a tribute to the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

Scroll To Top