Why is Nina Simone’s Wild is the Wind on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
Striking, powerful, and evocative vocals mapped against a wild variety of musical styles.
Some stats & info about Nina Simone – Wild is the Wind
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Pop, Pop Music, Jazz, Rock, Rock Music, Vocal Jazz, Soul
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – #212
- All Music’s rating – 3 out of 5 stars
- When was Wild is the Wind released? 1966
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #846 out of 1,000
Nina Simone’s Wild is the Wind on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.
What does Nina Simone’s Wild is the Wind mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
Nina Simone’s striking, powerful, and evocative vocals mapped against a wild variety of musical styles, ranging from classic standards to jazz to pop soul, make for quite a ride circa 1966.
“Break Down and Let It All Out” is a great example of Simone’s power in pop soul mode. The orchestration and production is perfect, allowing Simone’s voice to shine while showcasing a great horn section and exciting chord changes.
Listening to “Either Way I Lose,” I realized what a great and specifically 1966 album that Wild is the Wind is. And the “proof” I offered to myself is that I started thinking about Season 5 of Mad Men, which mostly takes place in 1966. For full transparency, I thought about the season finale, “The Phantom,” which takes place around Easter of 1967, but I think we can all agree that’s in the general vicinity of the era that Wild is the Wind was released in.
At the end of “The Phantom,” Don Draper (Jon Hamm) leaves the set of a commercial that his second wife, Megan (Jessica Paré) is acting in. He heads to a bar, and there’s an iconic moment that’s built upon five seasons of the audience knowing the show’s main character. A woman walks up to Don and asks if he’s alone, and we all know what that means. Nancy Sinatra’s incredible “You Only Live Twice” plays into the credits, and it’s one of my favorite tiny moments and musical choices from the show.
I bring all of this up because “Either Way I Lose” makes me feel a little bit of what it might have been like to be alive in 1966, or perhaps a tiny bit of what Nina Simone felt about being alive in 1966. Music can be transport us like that, and it’s a wonderful thing.
“I Love Your Lovin’ Ways” has a fun soul swing to it, with great crooning background vocals and jazz piano accompaniment.