Sunday Songs: Queen Latifah - "Lush Life"



Queen Latifah (American 1970-) wiki facebook  

Lush Life is a jazz standard, written by Billy Strayhorn between 1932-38. It's been performed by many, many artists but I love Latifah's version. It is lush and smooth and elegant but she does capture the shifts in emotional mood delicately. Hear how she sings the lyric 'was tinged with the sadness of a great love for me'.
The lush orchestral arrangement belies the desolate, bitter, with a small touch of hope, lyrics.


"Lush Life" (music and lyrics by Billy Strayhorn)

I used to visit all the very gay places,
Those come-what-may places,
Where one relaxes on the axis,
Of the wheel of life,
To get the feel of life,
From jazz and cocktails.
The gals (girls) I knew had sad and sullen gray faces,
With distingue traces,
That used to be there.
You could see where,
They'd been washed away,
By too many through the day.
Twelve o'clock tales.
Then you came along,
With your siren song,
To tempt me to madness.
I thought for awhile,
That your poignant smile,
Was tinged with the sadness,
Of a great love for me.
I guess (Ah, yes,) I was wrong.
Again, I was wrong.
Life is lonely again,
And only last year everything seemed so sure.
Now life is awful again.
A troughful of hearts could only be a bore.
A week in Paris might (will) ease the bite of it.
All I care is to smile in spite of it.
I'll forget you I will,
While yet you are still,
Burning inside my brain.
Romance is mush,
Stifling those who strive.
I'll live a lush life,
In some small dive.
And there I'll be,
While I rot with the rest,
Of those whose lives are lonely, too.
Lush life.

A style contrast is Rickie Lee Jones' live version. It's a heartbreaking, fragile performance. And listen to those horns. Beautiful.

 

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