Armed Forces lyrics

From The Elvis Costello Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

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

Chorus:
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)


Senior Service

Chorus:
Senior service
Junior dissatisfaction
It's a breath you took too late
It's a death that's worse than fate
Senior service
Junior dissatisfaction
Though it may be second hand
It's by no means second rate

I want your neck
I want the seat that you sit at
I want your cheque
Because they told me I would get on
I wanna chop off your head and watch it roll into the basket
If you should drop dead tonight then they won't have to ask me twice

(Chorus)

They took me in the office and they told me very carefully
The way that I could benefit from death and disability

(Chorus)

I want your company car
I want your girlfriend and love
I want your place at the bar
Because there's always another man
To chop off your head and watch it roll into the basket
If you should drop dead tonight then they won't have to ask me twice

(Chorus)


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?

Chorus:
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)


Alternate lyrics from 2020 live performances, replacing "Checkpoint Charlie" verse:

They say the times are changing
And peace on earth has come to pass
Although the war is raging
They see each war will be the last
Send the boys back to Enniskillen
'Cause a robot army does all the killing

And the BBC will beg you to forgive us
Choose a word or two and cut them out with scissors


Big Boys

I am starting to function
In the usual way
Everything is so provocative
Very very temporary

I shall walk (I shall walk)
Out of this place (out of this place)
I shall walk
Out on you
'Cause you go silly
If she's willing
Trying so hard to be like the big boys

So you take her to the pictures
Trying to become a fixture
Inch by inch trying to reach her
All the way through the second feature
Worrying about your physical fitness
Tell me how you got this sickness
Oh ohhhh...

I was caught in the suction
By a face like a truncheon
I was down upon one knee
Stroking her vanity

I was stuck on a hammerhead
I came alive and left for dead
As my face returned to red
Choking on my pride and pity

We can talk (we can talk)
Until your face is blue (till your face is blue)
We can talk but she'll get to you
After you've been loved and hated
By the ones you've watched and waited
Found that they were overrated

She'll be the one - when the party's over
She'll be the one - when the girls have gone home
She'll be the one - that you'll wish you'd held onto
She'll be the one - but it's too late for you to
She'll be the one - who knows all your history
She'll be the one -

So you can cross her off your list
And you try so hard
And you try so hard
And you try so hard
To be like the big boys, oh


Green Shirt

There's a smart young woman on a light blue screen
Who comes into my house every night
And she takes all the red, yellow, orange and green
And she turns them into black and white

But you tease, and you flirt
And you shine all the buttons on your green shirt
You can please yourself but somebody's gonna get it

Better cut off all identifying labels
Before they put you on the torture table

'Cause somewhere in the "Quisling Clinic"
There's a shorthand typist taking seconds over minutes
She's listening in to the Venus line
She's picking out names
I hope none of them are mine

But you tease, and you flirt
And you shine all the buttons on your green shirt
You can please yourself but somebody's gonna get it

Never said I was a stool pigeon
I never said I was a diplomat
Everybody is under suspicion
But you don't wanna hear about that

'Cause you tease, and you flirt
And you shine all the buttons on your green shirt
You can please yourself but somebody's gonna get it

Better send a begging letter to the big investigation
Who put these fingerprints on my imagination?

You tease, and you flirt
And you shine all the buttons on your green shirt
You can please yourself but somebody's gonna get it
You can please yourself but somebody's gonna get it
You can please yourself but somebody's gonna get it


Party Girl

They say you're nothing but a party girl
Just like a million more all over the world
I know I shouldn't be raising my hopes so high
But I have seen the hungry look in their eyes
They'd settle for anything in disguise of love
Seen the party girls look me over
Seen 'em leaving when the party's over

They can't touch me now
You say you don't mind
We're so hard to find
I could give you anything but time
Give it just one more try
Give it a chance
Starts like fascination
Ends up like a trance

Oh you'll never be the guilty party girl
Maybe someday we can go hiding from this world
Maybe I'll never get over the change in style
But I don't want to lock you up and say you're mine
Don't want to lose you or say goodbye
I'm the guilty party and I want my slice
But I know you've got me and I'm in a grip-like vise

They can't touch me now
You say you don't mind
We're so hard to find
I could give you anything
I would give you anything
I can give you anything but time
Give you anything but time (repeats)


Goon Squad

Mother, Father, I'm here in the zoo
I can't come home 'cause I've grown up too soon
I got my sentence
I got my command
They said they'd make me major if I met all their demands

I could be a corporal into corporal punishment
Or the general manager of a large establishment
They pat some good boys on the back and put some to the rod
But I never thought they'd put me in the

Goon squad
They've come to look you over and they're giving you the eye
Goon squad
They want you to come out to play
You'd better say goodbye

Some grow just like their dads
And some grow up too tall
Some go drinking with the lads
Some don't grow up at all

And you must find the proper place
For everything you see
But you'll never get to make a lampshade out of me

I could join a chain of males or be the missing link
Looking for a lucky girl to put me in the pink
They pat some good boys on the back and put some to the rod
But I never thought they'd put me in the

Goon squad
They've come to look you over and they're giving you the eye
Goon squad
They want you to come out to play
You'd better say goodbye

Mother, Father, I'm doing so well
I'm making such progress now that you can hardly tell
I fit in a little dedication
With one eye on the clock
They caught you under medication
You could be in for a shock

Thinking up the alibis that everyone's forgotten
Just another mummy's boy gone to rotten
They pat some good boys on the back and put some to the rod
But I never thought they'd put me in the

Goon squad
They've come to look you over and they're giving you the eye
Goon squad
They want you to come out to play
You'd better say goodbye


Busy Bodies

So you think that you have seen her
When you're lying in between her
And you tell me that you don't care
Busy bodies getting nowhere

Everybody's getting meaner
Busy bodies
Caught in the concertina

You check her outline
Break her regulations
You watch her legs through several
Service stations

Busy bodies
Very busy
Getting nowhere
Nowhere, nowhere, nowhere

Now you're ready for the merger
With the company you're part of
And you do the dirty business
With your latest sleeping partner

You're becoming
Automatic
Busy bodies
Out playing with the traffic

You want attention
You try my patience
With the best intentions you are nothing but a nuisance

Busy bodies
Busy busy
Getting nowhere
Nowhere, nowhere, nowhere

Now you've given your performance
Though the matinee was idle
And you find out that a wave of her right hand
Could seem so tidal

Just a second
Satisfaction
Busy bodies
Temporarily out of action

You wash and brush up
You want to dress up
You want to kiss her
But she's busy with her makeup

Busy bodies
Very busy
Getting nowhere
Nowhere, nowhere, nowhere
Nowhere, nowhere, nowhere


Sunday's Best

Times are tough for English babies
Send the army and the navy
Beat up strangers who talk funny
Take their greasy foreign money
Skin shop, red leather, hot line
Be prepared for the engaged sign
Bridal books, engagement rings
And other wicked little things

Chorus:
Standing in your socks and vest
Better get it off your chest
Every day is just like the rest
But Sunday's best

Stylish slacks to suit your pocket
Back supports and picture lockets
Sleepy towns and sleeper trains
To the dogs and down the drains
Major roads and ladies smalls
Hearts of oak and long trunk calls
Continental interference
At death's door with life insurance

Chorus

Sunday's best, Sunday's finest
When your money's in the minus
And you suffer from your shyness
You can listen to us whiners

Don't look now under the bed
An arm, a leg and a severed head
Read about the private lives
The songs of praise, the readers' wives
Listen to the decent people
Though you treat them just like sheep
Put them all in boots and khaki
Blame it all upon the darkies

Chorus

Sunday's best


Moods For Moderns

Moods for moderns, moods for moderns
Moods for moderns, moods for moderns

I get hit looking for a miss
I never thought that it would come to this

Moods for moderns, moods for moderns
Moods for moderns, moods for moderns

Though we may never be the same again
I am so proud that you've been taken in vain

What if none of your dreams come true?
I can never run from you
There's never been a how d'you do
There's never been an ending
Soon you'll belong to someone else
And I will be your stranger just pretending

Moods for moderns
Memory lingers
I let you into
Foreign fingers

Moods for moderns, moods for moderns
Moods for moderns, moods for moderns

I never thought that I would see this day
I never thought that I would give you away

What if none of your dreams come true?
I can never run from you
There's never been a how d'you do
There's never been an ending
Soon you'll belong to someone else
And I will be your stranger just pretending

Moods for moderns
Let them break us
Strong and sudden
Foreign fingers


Chemistry Class

She throws back her hair and she shows you her mouth
The breath that I waste trying to ruin your life
Beauty's on a budget but you take it on the chin
'Cause you have to do your duty taking orders from the kingpin

Chorus:
You've got a chemistry class, I want a piece of your mind
You don't know what you started when you mixed it up with mine
Are you ready for the final solution? Oh Oh

They chopped you up in butcher's school
Threw you out of the academy of garbage
You'll be a joker all your life
A student at the comedy college
People pleasing people pleasing people like you
You've been around so long but you still don't know what to do

(Chorus)

Sparks are flying from electrical pylons
Snakes and ladders running up and down her nylons
Ready to experiment, you're ready to be burned
If it wasn't for some accidents then some would never ever learn

(Chorus)


Two Little Hitlers

Why are we racing to be so old?
I'm up late pacing the floor
I won't be told
You have your reservations
I'm bought and sold

I'll face the music
I'll face the facts
Even when we walk in polka dots and chequer slacks

Bowing and squawking
Running after titbits
Bobbing and squinting
Just like a nitwit

Two little Hitlers will fight it out until
One little Hitler does the other one's will
I will return
I will not burn
Down in the basement

I need my head examined
I need my eyes excited
I'd like to join the party
But I was not invited
You make a member of me
I'll be delighted

I wouldn't cry for lost souls, you might drown
Dirty words for dirty minds
Written in a toilet town

Dial me a Valentine
She's a smooth operator
It's all so calculated
She's got a calculator
She's my soft touch typewriter
And I'm the great dictator

(Chorus)

A simple game of self-respect
You flick a switch and the world goes off
Nobody jumps as you expect
I would have thought you would have had enough by now

You call selective dating
For some effective mating
I thought I'd let you down, dear
But you were just deflating

I knew right from the start
We'd end up hating
Pictures of the merchandise
Plastered on the wall
We can look so long as we don't have to talk at all

You say you'll never know him
He's an unnatural man
He doesn't want your pleasure
He wants as no one can
He wants to know the names of
All those he's better than

(Chorus)

I will return
I will not burn
(repeats)


(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 and understanding? Ohhhh
What's so funny 'bout peace, love and 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 and understanding? Ohhhh
What's so funny 'bout peace, love and 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 and understanding? Ohhhh
What's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding? Ohhhh
What's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding?

<< This Year's Model Get Happy!! >>
Armed Forces
Armed Forces album cover.jpg
Released1979
ProducerNick Lowe
<< Prev      Return to top      Next >>