A hauntingly exquisite album of heartbreaking ballads
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 11/05/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was very, very fortunate to find a copy of the original CD release of this exquisite album during the early stages of my growing obsession and love for Judy Garland; during the 1990s, this CD was all but impossible to find. "Hauntingly beautiful" is the best way I can describe this collection of songs from 1957. Alone, Judy Garland's third studio album for Columbia, was built around the themes of loneliness and heartbreak, subjects Judy Garland knew all too well throughout her life. Honestly, this is the most touching, poignant, heartbreaking collection of songs ever assembled, each track infused with the emotional power of Judy's unique voice filtered through musical filters of solitude. Yet, no matter how sad these songs truly are, there is a definite aspect of inner strength and fortitude lining these ballads; Judy takes you to the bottom of life's emotional well but does not abandon you there in the darkness; hope, understanding, and inspiration lie just beneath the surface of these songs, and that is what truly makes each of them so very special.By Myself is the most familiar and recognizable track, and it affords the album a beautiful and inspirational opening as Judy vows to go her way alone, despite the end of romance. This is a song to buoy the spirits of those experiencing the pain of lost love or simple loneliness. The true gem of this collection, though, is I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues; the quiet nature of the majority of these tracks is put away momentarily for Judy to declare passionately and loudly that she does have the right to sing the blues and to moan and cry because "all I see for me is misery." Such passion is to be repeated only once more, in Blue Prelude; this is indeed an exquisitely beautiful song featuring some amazing tickling of the ivories and blasts of trumpets highlighting the emotion and passion of Judy's delivery. The remaining songs are all quiet, subdued, and lovely ballads that may well bring tears to your eyes. Little Girl Blue is just a really slow and tender ballad about a blue girl losing all hopes of finding a little blue boy to cheer her up. Me and My Shadow is a veritable theme song of aloneness. I Get the Blues When It Rains and How About Me speak to the pain and hurt that memory can unleash on the human soul, while Judy tears your heart out asking if she will ever love again in the ultra-moving Just a Memory. Happy New Year, sung against the backdrop of a maudlin chorus of Auld Lang Syne is the ultimate "no one to kiss at midnight" New Year's song. Mean to Me takes a slightly different approach, as it asks its musical question of a partner who returns one's bestowed affection in the form of negative emotions and hurt. The saddest song by far, though, has to be Among My Souvenirs. Judy sings this heartbreaking tune in the lowest and saddest voice I've ever heard, almost whispering the final agonizing line "I find a broken heart among my souvenirs." I wish I could convey in words the beauty and power of each of these songs. No one ever sang a sad song with as much feeling and power as Judy Garland, and it is impossible for me to describe the type of magic that the world has only known in the form of one incredible vocalist. Arranger-conductor Gordon Jenkins also merits praise for his wonderful work on these arrangements and the mix of strings, orchestra, and orchestra of voices he assembled to make these songs as beautiful and tender as they are. Undoubtedly, you will know whether or not you have ever truly been blue after listening to this album, since Judy describes the depth of such sorrow in the final track (a bonus track not included on the original album) Then You've Never Been Blue. If you love Judy Garland's upbeat, tempo-pounding showstoppers, this album of ballads may not appeal to you at first, but the beauty of these songs cannot help but touch the heart of even the most stoic of human beings. Judy Garland is truly in her element here, and I sincerely hope that every devoted Judy Garland fan can and will make Alone an addition to his/her musical library. Many of these songs may be unfamiliar to you, but I guarantee that any Garland fan will fall in love with this album and the rare emotional intensity which suffuses each and every track."
JUDY AT HER MELANCHOLIC BEST
Henning Sebastian Jahre | Oslo, Norway | 09/16/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Judy`s voice.... the great orchestrations by Gordon Jenkins, the ahead-of-its-time mood makes this a mindblower.... This is the best studio Garland-album of the 50s.....
It is as if she penitrates the brain and makes you suffer with her....
DON`T LISTEN TO THIS WITH A HEART-ACHE.... Ok u have been warned:-)))"
brhas | Safford, Arizona United States | 05/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THIS IS THE MOST SAD ALBUM I OWN. SINATRA WAS SAD IN 'I'M A FOOL TO WANT YOU' AND MANY OTHERS, BUT JUDY SINGS HAPPY NEW YEAR AS IF IT WAS THE END OF THE WORLD. HER OTHER SONGS ON THE LP ARE ALSO VERY SAD, BUT BEAUTIFUL, BITTERSWEET AND LOST.I LOVE THE TRAGIC VOICE OF A TRAGIC LENGENDARY SINGER AND ACTRESS BY THE NAME OF JUDY GARLAND. THANKS FOR THE MEMORY JUDY! NOW TO GET THE CD."