Frank Sinatra's "The Lady Is a Tramp": Why This Song Sucks
[Editor's note: Why This Song Sucks determines why particular tracks blow using science. It appears on West Coast Sound every Wednesday.]
Song: Frank Sinatra, "The Lady Is A Tramp"
History: Apparently "The Lady Is A Tramp" comes from a '30s musical*. Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga recorded their own version of it in 2011. And there have been about 1,000 others. But Sinatra's is the best, obvs.**
*Keep in mind I sometimes go on Wikipedia for information. In fact, there have been at least a few e-aggressive nights where I've gone in and changed pages to say that this person or that person died from "Too much farting." Wikipedia isn't God's law, is all I'm saying.
Lo siento, Selena. --Shea
**I first started listening to Frank Sinatra heavy in 2005 after my sister bought me some of his music for Christmas. That was around the same time I thought it was cool to slick my hair straight back and make smokey eyes at everyone and say things like, "That's pretty hip, mama" to cashiers and shit. Live and learn.
Atmospherics: Lily-fingered enough to make you forget that around the time of this there were millions of people who weren't allowed to eat or drink in public establishments. Good 'ol racism.
Analysis: An easy one. "The Lady Is A Tramp" is supposed to be satire, a jab in the arm of elitist elites. (Sinatra is for the people!) What it ends up being, however, is an unfair, backwards-thinking pulverizer of women's rights. To wit, the whole "tramp" thing, via FreeDictionary.com:
Tramp: n. 1. A prostitute; a woman regarded as promiscuous.
Okay, wait. I just did some more research on the song and realize now that he doesn't mean prostitute when he says "tramp." Turns out he means "unrefined" or "hobo" or something. But for a long time I had no idea. Which made these song lyrics super confusing:
"She gets too hungry for dinner at eight."
"She loves the theater and never comes late."
Sinatra: So your girl, you're saying she loves the theater?
Sinatra: And that she likes to get there on time?
Sinatra: ...Then she's definitely giving blowjobs in an alley for a handful of dirty money right now.
Guy: Got it. Thanks. ...Wait, what?
"She never bothers with people she hates."
"[She] won't dish the dirt with the rest of the girls."
Dishing the dirt with the rest of the girls isn't going to earn you the $300 you need to pay Ace at the end of the night, is the thinking here, I guess.
"Won't go to Harlem in Ermine [fur coats] or pearls."
I mean, does anyone?
"She likes the free, fresh wind in her hair."
"She'll have no crap games with sharpies and frauds."
So, to recap, my understanding of this song was totally wrong.
(I) I got banned from Wikipedia pretty quick.
(II) This isn't the only instance of Sinatra firing shots at women. Remember that "Funny Valentine" song, the one where he was perplexed by the inconceivable notion that he'd fallen for someone that wasn't pretty? He described his love's looks as "laughable," said her face was "unphotographable." Unphotographable. HE WAS MAKING UP WORDS TO DESCRIBE HOW UGLY A WOMAN WAS AND NOBODY SAID BOO. Such a gangster; a gorgeous, blue-eyed, woman-hating gangster.
(III) My analysis should in no way be trusted.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.