Song Of The Day 3/15/2016: Thelma Carpenter – “Yes I’m Lonesome Tonight”

Revenge of the Sequels – Elvis Presley's "Are You Lonesome Tonight" was a snaky piece of emotional blackmail that asked a lot of leading questions and made a romantic breakup very uncomfortable for mutual friends to witness. Well, okay, let's not assume it wasn't a sincere entreaty. Love hurts and all, especially in the 1950s. Hesitant twilights spent preening in the bathroom mirror, gumming up hair with pomade that would soon be irrelevant in the marketplace, pouting with Zoolander lips, forcing one's self not to discuss the Space Race with a girl at the malt shop. It ain't easy, I get it. And when it all came crashing down in a cumulus of misdirection and spite, homeys got desperate. They had to switch personas from vinyl impenetrability to vulnerable sap just to get the girl back. Don't play me for a fool. I watched Happy Days. I know how this episode plays out. Reconciliations fail by the dim light of the drive-in movie screen and then everyone heads to Arnold's for a patty melt. It's been true since the dawn of time.

Thelma Carpenter's 1961 answer "Yes I'm Lonesome Tonight" seems to say that the whole thing was a big misunderstanding. First of all, she insists that she wasn't lying when she said she loved him. Sounds like he went digging around for the tiniest excuse, the most insignificant, cherry-picked tell-tale sign to claim she wasn't being truthful. He's like a dog with extremely sensitive hearing and no reason filter. And second of all, she says he's the one that got all moody and distant, ruminating over the imperfections of heaven all in her face and fumbling around carelessly for a soggy book of matches. Then she brings up his whole "all the world's a stage" metaphor, and ditches it a lot quicker than he does. But she still wants him back regardless. That's wonderful, just wonderful. They'll be very happy together until the mid-'70s when they get talked into doing primal scream therapy.


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