Lately I’ve rediscovered my love for Linda Ronstadt’s 1980’s albums of pop standards: What’s New (1983), Lush Life (1985), and For Sentimental Reasons (1986).These albums combined Ronstadt’s considerable vocal talents with arrangements by Nelson Riddle, who had previously worked with Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and Judy Garland, among others. Here’s the title track from What’s New:

My dad had these albums when I was a kid, and I remember falling in love with many of the tracks as soon as I heard them. “What’s New” was instantly among my favorites. Even as an adolescent, I was impressed with this song’s story — I didn’t know music could do this. It made you imagine a little movie as you listen to it.

I also love the emotion of the song. Ronstadt’s ability to capture the embarrassment, disappointment, and yearning that imbues this song fascinated me. It’s so beautiful, delicate, and sad when she sings it. And the final cry of the last line’s crescendo is amazing.

(more…)