The utterly brilliant 1930s jazz singers, the untrained voices, of Lotte Lenya and Billie Holiday, convey more than the sum of the parts, and all depict the noir sentiments perfectly:
- There are no winners
- Futile revenge
- Corruptable protagonists
- The misery of the human condition
- Revelling in the senses
- Obessive love
- and much, much more
Here’s the young Lotte Lenya Singing “Seeräuber Jenny” (Pirate Jenny) 1931, in German, of course. Listen for her use of the word ‘Hoopla!’ on 2:39.
And Billie Holiday & Lester Young – Me, Myself And I (1937). Billie sings the word, ‘Me’ with some feeling on 1:50, and with increasing feeling towards the end. Just brilliant.
I’m on the lookout for more to add to this list.