Rhythm & Views

Nancy Sinatra

Nancy Sinatra released two records in 2004, the first records she's released since 1971. One was a collaboration with her longtime producer Lee Hazlewood of songs written by the likes of Neil Sedaka, and hasn't been released in the United States; the other, a self-titled record, features Sinatra singing songs written by musicians like Calexico, Bono, Jarvis Cocker, Morrissey and Thurston Moore.

The thing is, though, there is a reason why "These Boots Are Made for Walking" is the only Nancy Sinatra song to hold any staying power: She has a fairly uninteresting voice, and "Boots" is the type of song that works with a drab tone. Sinatra's voice just doesn't have the kind of emotional depth needed for songs penned by the likes of Morrissey. Her voice doesn't blend, and sometimes sounds like bad karaoke, especially on "Let Me Kiss You," Morrissey's song, and "Don't Mean Nothing," written by Pete Yorn.

"Burning Down the Spark," written by Joey Burns, is the only song on the record that truly gels with Sinatra's voice; there's a bit of reverb on her wavery vocals that slips in perfectly over Calexico's outlaw-Mariachi style. The contrast of Nancy Sinatra and Thurston Moore is so weird it almost works, and Sinatra's delivery of Jarvis Cocker's "Baby's Coming Back to Me" is believable enough.

Pretty much all of the songs on the album, however, are not good examples of their writer's work to begin with, and simply having Nancy Sinatra sing them is more of a hindrance than a help; her voice just wasn't built for contemporary rock songs.