Not to be confused with Bananarama’s Cruel Summer (which is pretty sweet too.) This is another one from Karen Elson’s debut album. Karen Elson, as you may already know, is one of my heroes. She has been, for a long time, an outstanding supermodel, and I loved her for that (and her red hair.) I was happy when my favorite model married my favorite rock star, and even more happy when she decided to make a leap at making music, and more that anything, thrilled that her music is so fucking good. That is surprising, because we all know the old stereotype that models suck at anything besides looking pretty, but not really surprising either, because if Jack White decides to produce your album and put it out on Third Man you know you’re some pretty hot shit.
There’s some buzz flying around, in circles of people who care about such things, that this song somehow refers to personal things. As in, Jack’s relations with that raven-haired temptress Allison Mosshart. Yes, Allison is very hot, she and Jack have high caliber chemistry onstage, and they do spend a lot of unsupervised time together. But, seriously! Don’t be so prurient. I’m sure Karen Elson is a class above this. She’s only the most beautiful woman in the world. Why would she write songs about being jealous of her man’s coworkers? For god’s sakes, she gave her children her husband’s ex-wife’s last name. And her husband’s ex-wife’s husband plays in her band. I have every confidence that Karen and Jack are completely above such petty things as jealousy. The song is, however, a total rewrite of Patsy Cline’s Tennessee Waltz*. Which is not a bad thing because, 1) the young ‘uns don’t remember Tennessee Waltz and want reminding, and 2) the original song Tennessee Waltz was written by men and sung by women, this similar song was actually written by the woman singing it. I think a fresh take on a classic theme is wonderful.
*Turns out, the Tennessee Waltz Wikipedia page doesn’t even mention Patsy Cline’s version. Evidently, Patti Page’s version is the most famous. And we already know how Jack likes Patti. Nice how everything at Third Man is so intricately referential.