Frank Sinatra never stopped singing love songs; arguably, it was what he did best. From the start of his career, Sinatra positioned himself as a singer of romantic songs, and he was believable in the role -- who could fail to fall to that voice? The holders of Sinatra's other major-label output -- Sony and Warner Bros. -- have previously released collections of the key love songs Sinatra recorded for them, so it's surprising that it took Capitol this long because many of his greatest romantic ballads and up-tempo swingers were the product of his tenure with that label (a good many of them were found on 1955's momentous Songs for Swingin' Lovers! album). Romance could easily have been built around that album alone, but only three of its songs are here; wisely, the compilers chose judiciously from Sinatra's other '50s and early-'60s sides for the label as well, including such essentials as "Day by Day," "As Time Goes By," "My Funny Valentine," "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning," "All the Way" and "Where or When," each of which became a cornerstone of his repertoire. Sinatra was not a wide-eyed optimist when it came to singing of affairs of the heart, and the compilation benefits from the inclusion of tracks that are melancholy in tone (his In the Wee Small Hours album could be downright depressing, but therein lied its honest appeal). That may not make this the perfect Valentine's Day collection (it was released in January, 2007, in time for that year's annual onslaught of love comps) but it does make it a more well-rounded survey of the legend's love song work for Capitol.
Romance: Songs from the Heart Review
by Jeff Tamarkin