One of the many reasons I turned this project from whim to reality was that I reckoned it would give me a ‘way in’ to liking older artists more. Listening to Frank Sinatra in the context of lots of other less famous people doing sort-of-similar things would persuade me further of his genius. And it nearly worked, too. It’s reminded me of how distinctive Sinatra is, but “Three Coins?” isn?t a particularly great advert for him.
For one thing the song has no real drive beyond its central image – a pitfall of taking singles from musicals. It’s a beguiling and romantic image, but when the single ends the image is cut short when it needs to burst into cinematic life. Of course, I’m perhaps being unfair – to the moviegoer of 1954 it did just that. Even then though the record is flawed: the ripe arrangement is a bit unsympathetic to Sinatra, who is at his finest when he can afford to turn down his singer’s projection and almost be speaking (to the audience, to himself). “Three Coins” makes Sinatra fight the strings too much for my taste as it heads for the “Make it mine” refrain. The result is an oddly unsatisfying record.