'Are You Lonesome Tonight?' marks a startling change of direction: it is a slow-moving ballad, gentle, caring, beautifully sung, with the kind of voice Presley had already shown on 'Silent Night' - natural, unforced, dead in tune, and totally distinctive. This classic song is enhanced by the extended 'talking' section in the middle - a difficult procedure to bring off, but here, surrounded by echo, it succeeds.|
Robert Matthew-Walker, Elvis Presley: A Study in Music
...Elvis, of course, made it a sentimental smash after his discharge from the Army and it became a solid staple in his repertoire ever since. It had a talk-sing passage in the middle that melted millions of female hearts.
The Complete Elvis, edited by Martin Torgoff, 1982
This is a tender, perhaps even sugary ballad, to be sure, but it is also full of soul and intense and intimate power. Presley holds back, delivering the vocal in a restrained, almost whispered falsetto, only allowing a glimpse at the power of his voice on the first halves of such lines as "shall I come back again?" before reigning himself back in...
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Interesting review here at this Freaky Trigger posting.