Lady in Satin is a 1958 album by Billie Holiday. It was the last record she released during her lifetime and her personal favorite. At the time critical reaction to the album was mixed. Years of drug addiction had ravished her voice, though the emotional power of a woman who's been through a lot shines through. In that regard, this record paved the way for similar troubled female musicians expressing their ravaged souls such as Nina Simone, Janis Joplin, Marianne Faithfull and Amy Winehouse.
The orchestral arrangements were conducted by bandleader Ray Ellis.
- "I'm a Fool to Want You" (3:23)
- "For Heaven's Sake" (3:26)
- "You Don't Know What Love Is" (3:48)
- "I Get Along Without You Very Well" (2:59)
- "For All We Know" (2:53)
- "Violets for Your Furs" (3:24)
- "You've Changed" (3:17)
- "It's Easy to Remember" (4:01)
- "But Beautiful" (4:29)
- "Glad to Be Unhappy" (4:07)
- "I'll Be Around" (3:23)
Tropes in Satin
- Added Alliterative Appeal: "You Don't Know What Love Is"Until you've loved a love you've had to lose
- Alliterative Title: "But Beautiful".
- Break-Up Song:
I hear you whisper: "I'll always love you."I know it's over and yetIt's easy to remember, but so hard to forget.
- "Easy to Remember"
I get along without you very wellOf course, i doExcept perhaps in springBut i should never think of springFor that would surely break my heart in two
- "I Get Along Without You Very Well"
And when things go wrongPerhaps you'll see you're meant for meSo, I'll be around when she's gone
- "I'll Be Around"
That sparkle in your eyes is goneYour smile is just a careless yawnYou're breaking my heartYou've changed
- "You've Changed"
- Broken Bird: Holiday was only in her forties when this album was recorded, but years of alcohol and heroin addiction caused her to sound like someone way older.
- Cover Album: All songs are covers.
- Darker and Edgier: A large part of the album's appeal is listening to a woman in decay and the knowledge that she would die the next year, with her final album recorded during her lifetime being released posthumously.
- Despair Event Horizon: In Holiday's case, death was already on the corner when she recorded this album, making her songs about unrequited love and breakups even more tragic than they already are.
- Drugs Are Bad: While Holiday's delivery remains exquisite, her vocals sounds rough and raspy, and express the weariness and despair she went through her entire life. All of it, due to her alcohol and heroin addictions.
- Face on the Cover: Billie's face in close-up.
- Have a Gay Old Time: "But Beautiful"Love is tearful or it's gayIt's a problem or it's a playIt's heartache either way
- Immediate Self-Contradiction: "I Get Along Without You Very Well" is a list of all the ways she isn't getting along very well.
- Love Hurts:
Love is funny or it's sadOr it's quiet or it's madIt's a good thing or it's bad
- "But Beautiful"
You don't know how lips hurtUntil you've kissed and had to pay the costYou don't know how lips hurtUntil you've flipped your heart and you have lostYou don't know what love is
- "You Don't Know What Love Is"
- Love Makes You Dumb: "I'm a Fool to Want You"Time and time again I said i'd leave youTime and time again I went awayBut then would come the time when I would need youAnd once again these words I had to sayTake me back, I love youI need youI know it's wrong, it must be wrongBut right or wrong, I can't get along without you.
- Lyrical Dissonance: The sweet string arrangements try to cover up Holiday's gloomy delivery.
- Non-Appearing Title: The title alludes to Holiday herself, not the lyrics.
- Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: More breakups, drugs and jazz, but still.
- Unrequited Love: "Glad To Be Unhappy"Unrequited love's a boreAnd I've got it pretty badBut for someone you adoreIt's a pleasure to be sad