Sweet Nothings

Songs From the Heart is one in a series of Capitol compilations featuring remastered songs by this legendary vocalist. As the title implies, this album is reserved for love songs and ballads, all of which show Cole at his most hopelessly romantic and gleeful. The album, as a result, is a treat.

Cole was a master of phrasing, giving these songs exactly what they deserved — restraint. That's apparent on "Too Marvelous for Words" (RealAudio excerpt), which spotlights the singer's coolly passionate delivery over shuffling piano and gentle drum taps. "You're just too much too much and just too very very/ To ever be in the Webster's dictionary," he croons. Sure, it's a throwaway line, but he sure sounds like he means it.

"Stay as Sweet as You Are" (RealAudio excerpt) is another study in class, with Cole savoring the delicious lyric: "Night and day/ I pray that you'll always stay/ As sweet as you are."

"Let There Be Love" (RealAudio excerpt) might be the collection's most telling recording. The song is pure cornball — one of those ditties your grandmother might sing. But Cole is so good that he unlocks the sentiment behind the cheese; when he sings a line about giving his lover chili con carne and sparkling champagne, his delivery is so crisp it makes the meal sound like an aphrodisiac.