After returning to the spotlight with Ol' Blue Eyes Is Back, Frank Sinatra continued his comeback with Some Nice Things I've Missed. As the title suggests, the bulk of the album consists of songs that became popular during Sinatra's brief retirement, including hits by Stevie Wonder, Neil Diamond, Jim Croce, and Bread. By and large, the material is adapted for big bands, with a couple of tracks featuring slight contemporary touches, like folky acoustic guitar. The majority of the album is arranged and produced by Don Costa, who must bear some of the blame for the failure of the record. Most of the songs he had to work with were too simple to withstand substantial orchestration and rearrangement, but Costa's charts are overwhelmingly trite and unimaginative, underscoring how unsuited the material is for Sinatra. The arrangements are forced and awkward, trying to inject swing where there isn't any in "Sweet Caroline" and "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown." Although they occasionally border on Muzak, the slower numbers are more effective, with "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?" leading the way among Costa's efforts. Sinatra doesn't make much of an effort to save the material either. Throughout the album, he sounds bored, even irritated, with the songs. There are a couple of exceptions to the rule -- Sinatra brings some life to "You Are the Sunshine of My Life," "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life," "The Summer Knows," and "You Turned My World Around," -- but he sounds disinterested in the project, as if he can't wait to leave the studio. And given the insipidness of "I'm Gonna Make It All the Way," "Satisfy Me One More Time," and "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree," who could blame him?
Some Nice Things I've Missed Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine