Having fully hit their stride on "In the Wee Small Hours," the team of Sinatra and arranger Nelson Riddle followed up the definitive collection of Sinatra ballads with the definitive collection of Sinatra swingers, 1956's "Songs for Swingin' Lovers."
In contrast to the melancholy mood of "In the Wee Small Hours," "Songs for Young Lovers!" is relentlessly upbeat. It begins with a timeless Sinatra classic: the ebulent opening horns of "You Make Me Feel So Young" are an invitation to the listener, encouraging them to join Ol' Blue Eyes on an aural stroll filled with laughter, romance, and above all, great music.
The remaining 14 songs are a winning combo of great singing and sophisticated orchestrations from the great Nelson Riddle. Of particular note are the sly, wistful "It Happened in Monterey," the intoxicating "You're Getting to be a Habit with Me," the bittersweet "I Thought About You," and a supremely confident, humorous "Makin' Whoopee." And of course, the record houses Frank's legendary, unimpeachable take on Cole Porter's "I've Got You Under My Skin," which combines one Frank's most technically and emotionally perfect vocal performances with Riddle's most exciting, smartly constructed chart; the way the strings and horns intertwine with each other as they steadily build toward Milt Bernhart legendary climactic trombone solo is a clinic in how to use dynamics properly as a way of building tension and anticipation.
From start to finish, "Songs for Young Lovers!" is probably Frank's most enjoyable album. It possesses a breezy, springlike charm that is immediately warm and enchanting. In a period where Frank was knocking out killer albums like clockwork, this one still manages to stand out as one of the very best of his entire output.