Thursday, August 27, 2009

Coax Me: Elvis Presley: "Don't"

Unlike the riotous previous song, this one is so quiet that at times the singer can only just be heard. It is a lullaby of persuasion, the girl being cajoled out of saying "don't" when he wants to kiss her (clearly there is no making of eyes here). She resists and says (we don't hear her, but it's implied) that he's not serious - he replies very quietly that "I ain't playin'." He is hers, put bluntly, and always will be, and it's cold and he needs to embrace and kiss her. The music gently rises and falls, swerving this way and that just as arms can bend and hold another; the Jordanaires aid and abet their leader admirably (even singing the title in three/four part harmony at one point). This is a tender song with just the right amount of longing and urgency, the girl and boy are together (where? anywhere, really) and with such "awfully nice" talk you might wonder why the girl is resisting at all - it's not like this is Pat Boone singing "Don't Forbid Me" after all (we will get back to him soon enough). This is Elvis with that fine subtlety in his voice, as fine and sure as Cupid's arrow itself; "on a night like this" sounds like a simple phrase, but he makes it sound as if there could be no other night, that time itself has ground to a halt and won't continue until she lets him hold and kiss her. Maybe she's afraid of what might happen after that? But the lulling warmth of the song makes it clear that that is all the singer wants, warmth on a cold night - a cozy moment. What may or may not happen after that is up to both of them.

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