14 Songs, 33 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Things Are Swingin’ was one of the more straightforward albums that the always forward-thinking Peggy Lee recorded for Capitol in the '50s. Her voice is so cool and her timing so effortless that her mere presence enchants the otherwise unremarkable arrangements of “It’s a Wonderful World,” “Ridin’ High," and “I’m Beginning To See the Light.” The honky-tonk inflection that Lee brings to “Alright, Okay You Win” makes the listener wish she’d recorded an album of country and western tunes, like Ray Charles. Even though the instrumentation is clearly the product of studio hires—albeit the finest studio hires in Los Angeles—there are still moments of nightclub chemistry between Lee and the orchestra, particularly on “You’re Getting To Be a Habit with Me,” in which a clarinet emerges midway to dance alongside the singer. The real story of this album, of course, is “Fever,” which became a runaway hit. With its immortally skeletal arrangement, the song cemented Lee’s legacy as a sex symbol and made fingersnaps the ultimate gesture of Beat-era cool.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Things Are Swingin’ was one of the more straightforward albums that the always forward-thinking Peggy Lee recorded for Capitol in the '50s. Her voice is so cool and her timing so effortless that her mere presence enchants the otherwise unremarkable arrangements of “It’s a Wonderful World,” “Ridin’ High," and “I’m Beginning To See the Light.” The honky-tonk inflection that Lee brings to “Alright, Okay You Win” makes the listener wish she’d recorded an album of country and western tunes, like Ray Charles. Even though the instrumentation is clearly the product of studio hires—albeit the finest studio hires in Los Angeles—there are still moments of nightclub chemistry between Lee and the orchestra, particularly on “You’re Getting To Be a Habit with Me,” in which a clarinet emerges midway to dance alongside the singer. The real story of this album, of course, is “Fever,” which became a runaway hit. With its immortally skeletal arrangement, the song cemented Lee’s legacy as a sex symbol and made fingersnaps the ultimate gesture of Beat-era cool.

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