"Help Me Rhonda" is a song by American surf rock group The Beach Boys, released in 1965 as a single, and released on on the album Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!) at the same time. The song went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and remained a staple of oldies format radio for decades to come. The song was released between their early surfing and driving period, and right before their most mature music on the Pet Sounds album, somewhat parallel to The Beatles of Eleanor Rigby and Paperback Writer, slightly before their mature work. The song is based around a romantic theme, but a slightly more complicated one than in their earlier hits.

The concept of "Help Me, Rhonda" is a man is attempting to persuade a woman (the titular Rhonda) to soothe his broken heart, which has been shattered by an unnamed woman who left him for another man. The singer cajoles and flatters her, as the same time as he complains of his ill-treatment. It is a question of interpretation whether his complaint is honest, or whether he is using it as an excuse to seduce Rhonda. It is also something that I have to doubt the practicality of: while I have found women more than happy to commiserate about what a bitch another woman has been, begging them to be a distraction to erase the memory of another woman, seems like it could backfire, terribly. Which is perhaps, while the song seems chipper enough, it has an undercurrent of introspection not present in earlier romantic songs.

Brevity Quest 2020

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