The song My Way was popularized by Frank Sinatra in 1969 and written by Paul Anka based on the French song “Comme D’habitude”. The song starts with a bassist delivering a grotesque parody, one of lounge singer’s croon on syrupy strings with a guitar’s chugging power cords and the kicks of the drums. Unlike many other songs of the time that were ontologically thin and only constituted by lyrics, rifts, basic harmonic material, and melody, the work encoded in this song is substantially thick, characterized by the rich set of sonic details accessible every time this recording is played on appropriate equipment (Kiss 2012. 22).
The song is able to generate a more hermeneutic brand of interest by providing a remarkably inter-textual dimension that serves to enrich interpretive engagement of the listener to the song. The loud up-tempo and less aggressive punk-standard features of its music present a an entertaining piece of work to the audience. The song is unique in its lounge-pop setting, and this promotes the listener’s access to the aspect of inter-textual significance. Sinatra has used genre appropriately to present his effective style and cultural aspect of the traditional rock and roll music. He has created a rare experience in which the listener can enjoy and reflect on its basic harmonic, melodic, and lyrical elements as well as the various possibilities they create (Kiss 2012. 23).
Sinatra’s unique smooth Vegas style is held highly as an object ready and ripe for parody as a symbol of the decadent American Capitalist culture. Consequently, it presents a morally bankrupt and rugged individualism entitling certain privileged people to “do things “their way” without consideration of the costs of their actions to others. My way is the ultimate goodbye done in the best style, from the ultimate good guy singer. The words teeters between put down and celebration just like the song itself having a rough life but still surviving. In spite of being a heartthrob and a teen hero, Frank continued downwards, managed to come back in a great way, after landing a role in “from Here to Eternity”. Sinatra’s My Way still remains a favorite, making it one of the longest running as number one on the charts for seven years (Kiss 2012. 24).
Possibly, this is so because of the popular idea where an individual lives a life full of adversities, but nevertheless emerging a victor despite the myriad of challenges. This is of what makes particular appeal to the audience about Sinatra during his heydays.
KISS “Rock and Roll All Nite”. (2012). Mix, 36(4), 22-26.