Watertown is a 1970 studio album by the American singer Frank Sinatra.
It is Sinatra's most ambitious concept album, an experiment perhaps first started on the 1966 album That's Life. It charts the story of a middle-aged man in Watertown, New York, whose wife has left him with his children.
It is similar in tone and nature to Sinatra's earliest concept albums, albums that evoke an air of despair and loneliness, found on such albums as 1958's Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely and 1955's In the Wee Small Hours.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine describes the album's construction as being a 'Series of brief lyrical snapshots that read like letters or soliloquies, the culminating effect of the songs is an atmosphere of loneliness, but it is a loneliness without much hope or romance - it is the sound of a broken man'. It is this introspection that one consistently finds in Sinatra's later albums, culminating in Sinatra's last concept album, Trilogy: Past Present Future from 1980.
"Watertown" was produced and co-written by Bob Gaudio, 1/4th of the 1960's pop vocal group The Four Seasons. The songs were co-written by Jake Holmes.
The album was released to mixed critical reviews and poor sales.
In "Left Standing at Watertown Station: The Chairman of the Board in the Time of Woodstock," a chapter in his A Storied Singer: Frank Sinatra as Literary Conceit, Gilbert L. Gigliotti reads the troubled marriage portrayed on the album as an allegory of Sinatra's relationship with the record buying public. Not knowing where she has gone, and, even at record's end, not sure whether she'll be returning, Sinatra's real answer would come at the album's release: No buyers, and his retirement soon after.
Sinatra would release one further album, Sinatra & Company, before announcing his retirement.
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