We are starting the new year with an album that will knock you over:
The incredible "Wild is the wind" by Nina Simone.
First of all, the starting track doesn't seem to fit the rest of the album. It's either a way for the record label to start the album with a more commercial sound so as to not deter first time listeners. Or it's intended as a sharp contrast to the rest of the album which is thoughtfully deep, melancholy and moving.
For me the album starts on track two, with those five repeated piano notes in "Four Women" a song written and arranged by Nina herself. It's a story line of four woman with poignant lyrics and really unlike any song that came before. I love intimate songs like "Lilac Wine" which make you feel like you are in a dark smokey club with Nina singing right in your ear.
She also has an incredible gift at interpreting songs, including the title track "Wild is the Wind" which was originally written for a film under the same name in 1957. I don't think the song would have survived without Nina's soulful voice and her sweeping piano arrangement (she trained at Julliard) It feels like her song, at least hers and David Bowie, whom would cover it a decade later as an homage to Nina.
The album closes on "Either Way I Lose" which I think is worth mentioning. Ending on an unresolved issue must have been intentional. Although the album doesn't really end does it? You just flip it right back to the beginning to listen to the whole thing over again and again.