“Ain’t That Lonely Yet”
Written by James House and Kostas
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
May 21, 1993
A Class of 1986 graduate reaches his commercial peak.
The Road to No. 1
A Kentucky native, Dwight Yoakam found his way from his home state to Nashville stardom via Los Angeles. When he first attempted to break through on Music Row, it was at the height of the pop crossover days, and his aggressive honky-tonk was a poor fit for where the industry was. So he moved to L.A. and became a fixture on the alternative music scene, playing venues that were known for punk and rock.
A self-financed EP caught the attention of Warner Bros., and they soon had him in the studio re-recording its tracks and expanding the album to full-length. Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. was launched in 1986 with a cover of Johnny Horton’s “Honky Tonk Man,” which went top five and was the first country video played on MTV. It kicked off a string of hit albums and singles for Yoakam, who released five consecutive platinum albums through the early nineties.
But it was his fifth studio set, This Time, that launched him to multi-platinum sales, and it all started with the lead single.
The No. 1
“Ain’t That Lonely Yet” is a gorgeous, sweeping heartbreak song that Yoakam delivers with stunning emotional heft. He runs the gamut from anger and bitterness to heartbreak and regret, demonstrating the strength he’s showing by walking away by laying bare his vulnerability and the depth of his wounds.
The chorus as written is fairly repetitive – “I ain’t that lonely yet, no I ain’t that lonely yet. After what you put me through, I ain’t that lonely yet.” But his delivery is so varied and complex that each time he sings the title, he might as well be saying different words. He finds nuances and different meanings in the simplest of phrases.
“Ain’t That Lonely Hit” demonstrates how sophisticated and mature country music can be without losing its roots.
The Road From No. 1
Two more chart-toppers are on the way from This Time, and they’re equally brilliant. Along the way, Yoakam will pick up a Grammy for the lead single covered today.
“Ain’t That Lonely Yet” gets an A.