Lyrics for singles by Elvis Costello and the Attractions

(the angels wanna wear my) Red Shoes
Alison
Watching the Detectives
Pump It Up
Radio Radio
(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding
Oliver's Army
Accidents Will Happen
I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down
Clubland
Watch Your Step
Good Year For The Roses
Beyond Belief
Man Out of Time
Everyday I Write The Book
Girls Talk
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
Veronica



(the angels wanna wear my) Red Shoes

Oh I used to be disgusted
and now I try to be amused
But since their wings have got rusted
you know, the angels wanna wear my red shoes
But when they told me 'bout their side of the bargain
that's when I knew that I could not refuse
And I won't get any older, now the angels wanna wear my red shoes

I was watching while you're dancing away
Our love got fractured in the echo and sway
How come everybody wants to be your friend?
You know that it still hurts me just to say it

Oh, I know that she's disgusted (oh why's that)
Cause she's feeling so abused. (oh that's too bad)
She gets tired of the lust, (oh I'm so sad)
but it's so hard to refuse
How can you say that I'm too old
when the angels have stolen my red shoes

Oh, I said "I'm so happy, I could die."
She said "Drop dead," then left with another guy
That's what you get if you go chasing after vengeance
Ever since you got me punctured this has been my sentence
Oh I used to be disgusted
and now I try to be amused
But since their wings have got rusted
you know, the angels wanna wear my red shoes
Red shoes, the angels wanna wear my red shoes




Alison

Oh it's so funny to be seeing you after so long, girl
And with the way you look I understand
that you are not impressed
But I heard you let that little friend of mine
take off your party dress
I'm not going to get too sentimental
like those other sticky valentines
'cause I don't know if you've been loving somebody
I only know it isn't mine

Alison, I know this world is killing you
Oh, Alison, my aim is true

Well I see you've got a husband now
Did he leave your pretty fingers lying
in the wedding cake?
You used to hold him right in your hand
I'll bet he took all he could take
Sometimes I wish that I could stop you from talking
when I hear the silly things that you say
I think somebody better put out the big light
cause I can't stand to see you this way

Alison, I know this world is killing you
Oh, Alison, my aim is true
My aim is true




Watching the Detectives

Nice girls not one with a defect
cellophane shrink-wrapped, so correct
Red dogs under illegal legs
She looks so good that he gets down and begs

She is watching the detectives
"ooh, he's so cute!"
She is watching the detectives
when they shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot
They beat him up until the teardrops start
but he can't be wounded 'cause he's got no heart

Long shot of that jumping sign
Invisible shivers running down my spine
Cut the baby taking off her clothes
Close-up of the sign that says,"We never close"
You snatch a tune, you a match a cigarette
She pulls the eyes out with a face like a magnet
I don't know how much more of this I can take
She's filing her nails while they're dragging the lake

[chorus]

You think you're alone until you realize you're in it
Now fear is here to stay.  Love is here for a visit
They call it instant justice when it's past the legal limit
Someone's scratching at the window.  I wonder who is it?
The detectives come to check if you belong to the parents
who are ready to hear the worst about their daughter's disappearance
Though it nearly took a miracle to get you to stay
it only took my little fingers to blow you away

Just like watching the detectives
Don't get cute!"
It's just like watching the detectives
I get so angry when the teardrops start
but he can't be wounded 'cause he's got no heart
Watching the detectives
It's just like watching the detectives




Pump It Up

I've been on tenderhooks
ending in dirty looks
list'ning to the Muzak
thinking 'bout this 'n' that
She said that's that
I don't wanna chitter-chat
Turn it down a little bit
or turn it down flat

Pump it up when you don't really need it
Pump it up until you can feel it

Down in the pleasure centre
hell bent or heaven sent
listen to the propaganda
listen to the latest slander
There's nothing underhand
that she wouldn't understand

Pump it up until you can feel it
Pump it up when you don't really need it

She's been a bad girl
She's like a chemical
Though you try to stop it
she's like a narcotic
You wanna torture her
You wanna talk to her
All the things you bought for her
putting up your temp'rature

Pump it up until you can feel it
Pump it up when you don't really need it

Out in the fashion show
down in the bargain bin
you put your passion out
under the pressure pin
Fall into submission
hit-and-run transmission
No use wishing now for any other sin

Pump it up until you can feel it
Pump it up when you don't really need it




Radio Radio

I was tuning in the shine on the light night dial
doing anything my radio advised
with every one of those late night stations
playing songs bringing tears to me eyes
I was seriously thinking about hiding the receiver
when the switch broke 'cause it's old
They're saying things that I can hardly believe
They really think we're getting out of control

Radio is a sound salvation
Radio is cleaning up the nation
They say you better listen to the voice of reason
But they don't give you any choice
'cause they think that it's treason
So you had better do as you are told
You better listen to the radio

I wanna bite the hand that feeds me
I wanna bite that hand so badly
I want to make them wish they'd never seen me

Some of my friends sit around every evening
and they worry about the times ahead
But everybody else is overwhelmed by indifference
and the promise of an early bed
You either shut up or get cut up;
they don't wanna hear about it
It's only inches on the reel-to-reel
And the radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools
tryin' to anaesthetise the way that you feel

[chorus]

Wonderful radio
Marvelous radio
Wonderful radio
Radio, radio




(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding

As I walk through
This wicked world
Searchin' for light in the darkness of insanity

I ask myself
Is all hope lost?
Is there only pain and hatred, and misery?

And each time I feel like this inside
There's one thing I wanna know:
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding?    Ohhhh
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding?

And as I walked on
Through troubled times
My spirit gets so downhearted sometimes
So where are the strong
And who are the trusted?
And where is the harmony?
Sweet harmony

'Cause each time I feel it slippin' away, just makes me wanna cry
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding?    Ohhhh
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding?


So where are the strong?
And who are the trusted?
And where is the harmony?
Sweet harmony

'Cause each time I feel it slippin' away, just makes me wanna cry
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding?    Ohhhh
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding?    Ohhhh
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding?




Oliver's Army

Don't start me talking
I could talk all night
My mind goes sleepwalking
While I'm putting the world to right

Called careers information
Have you got yourself an occupation?

Oliver's army is here to stay
Oliver's army are on their way
And I would rather be anywhere else
But here today

There was a checkpoint Charlie
He didn't crack a smile
But it's no laughing party
When you've been on the murder mile

Only takes one itchy trigger
One more widow, one less white nigger

[chorus]

Hong Kong is up for grabs
London is full of Arabs
We could be in Palestine
Overrun by a Chinese line
With the boys from the Mersey and the Thames and the Tyne

But there's no danger
It's a professional career
Though it could be arranged
With just a word in Mr. Churchill's ear

If you're out of luck or out of work
We could send you to Johannesburg

[chorus]




Accidents Will Happen

Oh I just don't know where to begin
Though he says he'll wait forever
It's now or never
But she keeps him hanging on
The silly champion
She says she can't go home
Without a chaperone

Accidents will happen
We only hit and run
He used to be your victim
Now you're not the only one

Accidents will happen
We only hit and run
I don't want to hear it
'Cause I know what I've done

There's so many fish in the sea
That only rise up in the sweat and smoke like mercury
But they keep you hanging on
They say you're so young
Your mind is made up but your mouth is undone

[chorus]

And it's the damage that we do
And never know
It's the words that we don't say
That scare me so

There's so many people to see
So many people you can check up on
And add to your collection
But they keep you hanging on
Until you're well hung
Your mouth is made up but your mind is undone

[chorus]

I know, I know, (repeat)




I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down

I'm the living result
I'm a man who's been hurt a little too much
and I've tasted the bitterness of my own tears
sadness is all my lonely heart can feel

I can't stand up for falling down
I can't stand up for falling down

simple though love is
still it confused me
why I'm not loved the way I should be
now I've lived with heartaches
and I've roomed with fear
I've dealt with despair
and I've wrestled with tears

I can't stand up for falling down
I can't stand up for falling down

the vow that we made
you broke it in two
but that don't stop me from loving you

I can't stand up for falling down
I can't stand up for falling down




Clubland

With a handful of backhanders and a bevy of beauty
You're going off limits
Going off duty
Going off the rails
Going off with booty
They tell tales of fiction found on all the criminal types
Lead to a higher ranking man or a face with thin red stripes

The boys next door
The mums and dads
New weds and nearly-deads
Have you ever been had in Clubland?

There's a piece in someone's pocket to do the dirty work
You've come to shoot the pony
They've come to do the jerk
They leave him half way to paradise
They leave you half way to bliss
The ladies' invitation never seemed like this

[chorus]

The long arm of the law slides up the outskirts of town
Meanwhile in Clubland they are ready to pull them down
Hey

The right to work is traded in for the right to refuse admission
Don't pass out now, there's no refund
(when) Did you find out what you were missing
The crowd is taking forty winks minus ten percent
You barely get required sleep to go lingering with contemptment
Thursday to Saturday
Money's gone already
Some things come in common these days
Your hands and work aren't steady

[chorus]




Watch Your Step

Don't say a word
Don't say anything
Don't say a word
I'm not even listening
I read in the paper about their escape
They're just two bit of kids from a bunch of sour grapes
You better watch your step

Watch who's knocking on your front door
Now you know that they're watching
What are you waiting for?
Think you're young and original
Get out before...
They get to watch your step

Ev'ry day is full of fun
And family spies
They're making heroes out of fall guys
They say it's good for business
From Singapore to Widnes
You better watch your step

Broken noses hung up on the wall
Back slapping drinkers cheer the heavy weight brawl
So punch drunk they don't understand at all
You better watch your step

Ev'ry night
Go out full of carnal(carnival) desires
End up in the closing time choirs

When you're kicking in the car chrome
And you're drinking down the Eau de Cologne
And you're spitting out the Kodachrome
You better watch your step

Bye
I send you all my regards
You're so tough
You're so hard
Listen to the hammers falling in the breaker's yard
You better watch your step
You better watch your step
Ooh, watch your step




Good Year For The Roses

I can hardly bear the sight of lipstick
On the cigarettes there in the ashtray
Lyin' cold the way you left 'em
But at least your lips caressed them while you packed
Or the lip-print on a half-filled cup of coffee
That you poured and didn't drink
But at least you thought you wanted it
That's so much more than I can say for me

What a good year for the roses
Many blooms still linger there
The lawn could stand another mowin'
Funny I don't even care
As you turn to walk away
As the door behind you closes
The only thing I have to say
It's been a good year for the roses

After three full years of marriage
It's the first time that you haven't made the bed
I guess the reason we're not talkin'
There's so little left to say we haven't said
While a million thoughts go racin' through my mind
I find I haven't said a word
From the bedroom the familiar sound of a baby's cryin' goes unheard

What a good year for the roses
Many blooms still linger there
The lawn could stand another mowin'
Funny I don't even care
As you turn to walk away
As the door behind you closes
The only thing I have to say
It's been a good year for the roses




Beyond Belief

History repeats the old conceits
The glib replies the same defeats
Keep your finger on important issues
With crocodile tears and a pocketful of tissues

I'm just the oily slick
On the windup world of the nervous tick
In a very fashionable hovel

I hang around dying to be tortured
You'll never be alone in the bone orchard
This battle with the bottle is nothing so novel

So in this almost empty gin palace
Through a two-way looking glass
You see your Alice

You know she has no sense
For all your jealousy
In a sense she still smiles very sweetly

Charged with insults and flattery
Her body moves with malice
Do you have to be so cruel to be callous

And now you find you fit this identikit completely
You say you have no secrets
And then leave discreetly

I might make it California's fault
Be locked in Geneva's deepest vault
Just like the canals of Mars and the great barrier reef
I come to you beyond belief

My hands were clammy and cunning
She's been suitably stunning
But I know there's not a hope in Hades
All the laddies cat call and wolf whistle
So-called gentlemen and ladies
Dog fight like rose and thistle

I've got a feeling
I'm going to get a lot of grief
Once this seemed so appealing
Now I am beyond belief

[chorus]




Man Out of Time

So this is where he came to hide
When he ran from you
In a private detective's overcoat
And dirty dead man's shoes

The pretty things of Knightsbridge
Lying for a minister of state
Are a far cry from the nod and wink
Here at traitor's gate

'Cause the high heel he used to be has been ground down
And he listens for the footsteps that would follow him around

To murder my love is crime
But will you still love
A man out of time

There's a tuppeny hapenny millionaire
Looking for a fourpenny one
With a tight grip on the short hairs
Of the public imagination

But for his private wife and kids somehow
Real life becomes a rumour
Days of dutch courage
Just three French letters and a German sense of humour

He's got a mind like a sewer and a heart like a fridge
He stands to be insulted and he pays for the privilege

[chorus]

The biggest wheels of industry
Retire sharp and short
And the after dinner overtures
Are nothing but an after thought
Somebody's creeping in the kitchen
There's a reputation to be made
Whose nerves are always on a knife's edge
Who's up late polishing the blade

Love is always scarpering or cowering or fawning
You drink yourself insensitive and hate yourself in the morning

[chorus]




Everyday I Write The Book

Don't tell me you don't know what love is
When you're old enough to know better
When you find strange hands in your sweater
When your dreamboat turns out to be a footnote
I'm a man with a mission in two or three editions

And I'm giving you a longing look
Everyday, everyday, everyday I write the book

Chapter One we didn't really get along
Chapter Two I think I fell in love with you
You said you'd stand by me in the middle of Chapter Three
But you were up to your old tricks in Chapters Four, Five and Six

The way you walk
The way you talk, and try to kiss me, and laugh
In four or five paragraphs
All your compliments and your cutting remarks
Are captured here in my quotation marks

Don't tell me you don't know the difference
Between a lover and a fighter
With my pen and my electric typewriter
Even in a perfect world where everyone was equal
I'd still own the film rights and be working on the sequel




Girls Talk

There are some things you can't cover up with lipstick and powder
I thought I heard you mention my name, can't you talk any louder?
Don't come any closer, don't come any nearer
My vision of you can't get any clearer
Oh, i just want to hear girls talk
I got a loaded imagination being fired by girls talk
But I can't say the words you want to hear
I suppose you're going to have to play it by ear
Right here and now

Girls talk and they want to know how
Girls talk and they say it's not allowed
Girls talk, if they say that it's so
Don't you think that I know by now

That the word up on everyone's lips
Stick that you're dedicated
Though you may not be an old fashioned girl
You're still going to get dated
Was it really murder?
Were you just pretending?
Lately I have heard you are the living end

Girls talk and they wanna know about her
Girls talk, they wanna know if I care
Girls talk and they wanna know where
Girls talk girls talk




Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

Baby can you understand me now
Sometimes I feel a little mad
Don't you know that no one alive can always be an angel
When things go wrong I seem to be mad

[chorus]
I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord please don't let me be misunderstood

Baby sometimes I'm so carefree
With a joy that's hard to hide
Other times it seems that all I have to do is worry
And then I know you're bound to see my other side

[chorus]

If I get mad at you I want you to know
That I never mean to take it out on you
Life has its problems and I get my share
But that is one thing I would never do 'cause I love you
Oh don't you know I'm human
I've got my faults just like any one
Sometimes I lie awake long regretting
Some foolish thing, some sinful thing I've done

[chorus]
[chorus]
[chorus]




Veronica

Is it all in that pretty little head of yours?
What goes on in that place in the dark?
Well I used to know a girl and I would have
sworn that her name was Veronica
Well she used to have a carefree mind of her
own and a delicate look in her eye
These days I'm afraid she's not even sure if her
name is Veronica

Do you suppose, that waiting hands on eyes
Veronica has gone to hide?
And all the time she laughs at those who shout
her name and steal her clothes
Veronica
Veronica

Did the days drag by? Did the favours wane?
Did he roam down the town all the time?
Will you wake from your dream, with a wolf at
the door, reaching out for Veronica
Well it was all of sixty-five years ago
When the world was the street where she lived
And a young man sailed on a ship in the sea
With a picture of Veronica

On the "Empress of India"
And as she closed her eyes upon the world and
picked upon the bones of last week's news
She spoke his name outloud again

[chorus]

Veronica sits in her favourite chair
And she sits very quiet and still
And they call her a name that they never get right
And if they don't then nobody else will
But she used to have a carefree mind of her own
With a devilish look in her eye
Saying "You can call me anything you like
But my name is Veronica"

[chorus]