Against Interpretation

Rod Stewart finds a brand-new batch of catchy and literate songs he can put his mark on

If you're still resisting Sinatra, don't be a fool. His microtonal caress of "Night and Day," in the swinging Nelson Riddle arrangement and even the melodramatic Don Costa, is inexhaustible—he doesn't just interpret it, he owns it. And Louis Armstrong doesn't just own "A Kiss to Build a Dream On," he erects a love nest there—adoring its melody as he contours it, turning its slight lyric into a heartfelt promise that's also a friendly joke. But these are the two greatest singers of the 20th century. Stewart's merely good. Give him credit for knowing it.

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