Fidelity Wars #85: Jamie Cullum – “Gran Torino”

Delayed due to illness.

I saw the Clint Eastwood directed film Gran Torino earlier this year, and I rather liked it. It seemed to’ve gotten some lukewarm reviews, with critics feeling it was a bit too safe and formulaic, basically being a re-telling of the grouchy person is gradually drawn out of his shell and turns out to not be such a bad person after all kind of story. While it may not have broken any new ground, it managed to tread on the old ground very well, and with a slightly more grim tone than most of the other films which have tread on the same ground has had.

One of the highlights of the film were the end credits, where we got to hear a lovely song bearing the film’s name, “Gran Torino”. It’s at first sung by Clint Eastwood in a hoarse whisper, until contemporary crooner Jamie Cullum steps in and takes the lead. The song was included on the film’s soundtrack, but it was also included on the digital release of Jamie Cullum’s album The Pursuit as a bonus track, minus Eastwood’s part – and this version of the song is the pick for this week’s installment. While Eastwood’s introduction worked well in the credits in the context of the film, it doesn’t work as well when removed from said context.

Jamie Cullum – “Gran Torino”

It is possibly one of the best written songs I’ve ever heard, and the melody and execution is spot on, but it’s so darn melancholy it can be difficult to listen to. A few points detracted for singing the same lyrics twice, which I feel is a cheap trick that’s too often used to pad out a song. Fortunately they manage to execute this song without making it seem cheap.

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