16 Songs, 58 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The fact that Paul McCartney contributed the title song to Peggy Lee’s 1974 album speaks to the level of respect and admiration the post-war vocalist commanded in the music industry long after her peak years had passed. Let’s Love shows that Lee, even in her mid-50s, still had something that younger singers couldn’t touch. McCartney’s song is recognizably his, but Lee infuses it with a sense of woe that almost borders on menace. It has a complexity that wouldn't have existed had McCartney simply sung the song for himself. Lee had always been a master of interpretation, but at this stage in her career her transformative powers were even more potent. “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” had been a relatively breezy James Taylor ballad; in Lee’s hands, it's the sound of a woman’s solitary ache, sung from inside an expensive and empty boudoir. Producer Dave Grusin was well-known for his film scores, and his production falters when it becomes too theatrical, as on “Let’s Keep Dancing.” The best thing he brought Lee was hushed funk from his fusion-oriented session men, as on “Easy Evil,” “Always,” and “Sweet Talk.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

The fact that Paul McCartney contributed the title song to Peggy Lee’s 1974 album speaks to the level of respect and admiration the post-war vocalist commanded in the music industry long after her peak years had passed. Let’s Love shows that Lee, even in her mid-50s, still had something that younger singers couldn’t touch. McCartney’s song is recognizably his, but Lee infuses it with a sense of woe that almost borders on menace. It has a complexity that wouldn't have existed had McCartney simply sung the song for himself. Lee had always been a master of interpretation, but at this stage in her career her transformative powers were even more potent. “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” had been a relatively breezy James Taylor ballad; in Lee’s hands, it's the sound of a woman’s solitary ache, sung from inside an expensive and empty boudoir. Producer Dave Grusin was well-known for his film scores, and his production falters when it becomes too theatrical, as on “Let’s Keep Dancing.” The best thing he brought Lee was hushed funk from his fusion-oriented session men, as on “Easy Evil,” “Always,” and “Sweet Talk.”

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