Out of all the strange and idiosyncratic albums in music history, this is one of the strangest and most idiosyncratic. The arrangements are so cool, while the singing is so understated, that you could put it on during a cocktail party and probably no one would bat an eyelid, because it's so superficially unobtrusive it can function as a perfect complement to the background. However, for the more attentive listener there are subtle dark horrors lurking within the phrasing, which may be inferred by the low-energy, sometimes off-key singing. Then again, so paradoxical is this album that this apparent morbidness may ultimately be nothing more than an expression of pure joy with an extremely compromised instrument. Whatever it is, this album is certainly Holiday's completely unpretentious attempt to compete with protege Frank Sinatra on his own turf in that never-never land of quasi-Easy-listening, where the jazz isn't so much in the charts, but is more in the soul of the performer.
Who knows what to make of this album?
I really don't want to pre-determine the listener's response to this music, though I would like to make one suggestion. Whatever you do, don't listen to this CD for the first time during the daylight hours, and don't listen to it with a full-tank of gas. This disc should only be played on a relaxed weekend, after your revels are mostly ended. So fragile and evanescent is its art that it can only be properly appreciated when your more vulnerable self takes hold.