Songs for Swingin’ Lovers: Ring-A-Ding-Dating

For one reason or another, I’ve super been into listening to the Frank Sinatra Pandora station lately. I don’t know if I’ve taken to rebelling against myself to the point that I’ve circled back to what I’ve always thought would never happen: listening to literally the same music my parents do. The sheer amount of backlashes to other backlashes boggle my mind. As a wise Tony once said, this is the kind of thing that gives Japanese kids seizures. Or maybe it’s just because I’ve been watching this a lot.

Anyhow, I’ve been thinking about the great American songbook and what it has to say about inter-personal romantic relationships. And it goes a little something like this:

1) Lady Is A Tramp

First of all, this video above is the most cracked out version/performance of this song the world’s ever seen. More on that in a minute. So, like, here’s the thing about this song: I don’t get it. I guess it’s supposed to be making fun of New York high society or something, but like, do they mean “tramp” in the slutty kind of way or in a Lady and the Tramp kind of way? One thing is for sure, Frank Sinatra definitely means it in the slutty way. Watch him change the words to “that’s why this chick is a champ”. Sinatra’s improv/ad-libbing is basically the fuel for every joke I’ve ever had about anything. It’s everywhere I want to be. Anywhozle, here’s what I learned about why this lady is a tramp: she’s scared of black people, she’s too crass to eat dinner at the proper time, and she doesn’t want to dish dirt with the rest of the broads. Wimmen be shoppin’, basically, is what this song would be called nowadays. Right? Am I totally missing the point?

2) Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Two words: date rapey. This guy is basically trying to coerce this woman into staying and apparently drugging her too (“what’s in this drink anyway?”). Something about Dean Martin singing it makes it a billion times creepier, especially since this woman is apparently, young enough to be living at home and worried her mom will be worried. Also, the iterations of “the answer is no” just gets more and more unnerving the as it gets refuted repeatedly throughout the song. Times were just so much simpler and innocent back then, right, Glenn Beck/Bill O’Reilly?

3) I Won’t Dance

You know that guy who says he “doesn’t dance” aka doesn’t want to potentially look like a fool in front of people aka is too scared to be in a real relationship? Well, not necessarily, but this song makes that leap/comparison. The real highlight of this song is, as usual, in the Frank Sinatra ad-lib (unfortunately, I can’t find the exact one online), when he’s like: “You know what? Ring-A-Ding-Ding.”

4) That’s Amore

Maybe this isn’t technically part of the “Great American Songbook”, but it does belong to a certain genre of songs from the 50s and early 60s that, much to my personal delight, makes cartoon characters out of Italian people (Mambo Italiano, Volare, etc.). But, as much as a semi-minstrel show this is, I have a soft spot for it. Plus, something tells me that that Guinea bastard Dino Martino is in on the joke a little bit.

5) My Funny Valentine

I have to admit that this song chokes me up a bit (and also I can’t find it online for some reason). Instead of a shirt that says “I Got Verklempt at Leigh’s Bat Mitzvah!” with a coffee cup on it, I need a shirt that says “I Got Verklempt at the 80,000th time I heard Chet Baker sing/play ‘My Funny Valentine’”. So, what does it say about life and love? Don’t change! Stay the same! KIT and have a great summer! Just kidding. It’s about being in love with someone for realsies, even if they’re not perfect-looking. And that’s all she wrote.

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About the author

Anna G - Caliburg Contributor

Anna G. is a Southern California native living in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn since 2005. Anna is constantly trying to unite her love of CA sunshine and the excitement of the New York urban jungle, all the while trying to keep her unwieldy credit card debt under control, and look fabulous at brunch, no matter how un-showered and hungover.