Brutal Youth lyrics

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Pony St.

She lives on Pony St.
And they should scatter flowers at her feet
But when they come calling I think it's appalling
They're sober and they're polite
They're deeply respectful when I would expect them
To keep her out all night

That little martinet
Will get her own way yet
If you need instruction in mindless destruction
I'll show you a thing or two
You used to adore me but now my life flashes before me
For you to view

Oh mother, oh mother, sometimes you are so mortifying
From the hole in your leopard skin tights I can tell you've been spying
But your generation confesses before it transgresses
Those Super-8 movies of Daddy in your disco dresses

If you're going out tonight
I won't wait up
Reading "Das Kapital"
Watching "Home Shopping Club"

While you're flogging a dead horse
All the way down Pony St.
Where you live after a fashion
All the way down Pony St.
The life and the soul of every indiscretion
That lives on, that lives on, that lives on Pony St.

Daughter, oh daughter, you know I will love you forever
But spare me the white ankle socks with the lace and the leather
For you and your cartoon threat do no good to resist me
For I am the genuine thing but for you it's just history

If you're going out tonight
How can you be sure
Where you lay your pretty head
Mother may have been before

So you're flogging a dead horse
All the way down Pony St.
Where you live after a fashion
All the way down Pony St.
The life and the soul of every indiscretion
That lives on
That lives on
That lives on
That lives on
That lives on
She lives on Pony St.
She lives on Pony St.
She lives on, she lives on
She lives on, she lives on


Kinder Murder

Here in the bar, the boys like to have fun
There's a wager lost and an argument won
There's a stone-washed damsel on a junk food run
It's a kinder murder

There's a ladder to heaven from a battered stiletto
Spitting out the words that he put into her mouth
See her in silhouette going down south
It's a kinder murder, it's a kinder murder

(Chorus:)
She could have kept her knees together
Should have kept her mouth shut
It's a kinder murder
It's a kinder murder

Jimmy took her down to the perimeter fence
He was back in half an hour. He said he left her senseless
Then he went back to his regiment
It's a kinder murder

The officer said it has to be denied
There's a tear-stained would-be teenage bride
All the family pride in the little ram-rider
It's a kinder murder, it's a kinder murder

(Repeat Chorus)

The child went missing and the photo fit his face
Dishonoured Jimmy just read about the case
He said that he was just taking up space
It's a kinder murder

Jimmy took his best friend's keys from the pile on the table in a flash
He was dreaming of the pigskin seats and the walnut dash
The knickers in her hand-bag and the one false eyelash
It's a kinder murder, it's a kinder murder

(Repeat Chorus)

It's a kinder murder
It's a kinder murder


13 Steps Lead Down

When nobody knows she puts on secret clothes
And lies in the meadow with her hands tied behind her back
I won't refuse
If you know how to use it
Just stop playing that ugly drug music

Thirteen steps lead down
Thirteen steps lead down
There's commoners and kings
And everyone's a prisoner
Of paper and glue and a decent pair of scissors
So tonight I'm drinking to your health
Because I just can't stand myself

Thirteen steps lead down
Thirteen steps lead down
Thirteen steps lead down
Thirteen steps lead down

She stands and fails on fashion fingernails
Her lovers have her walking 'round
On instruments of torture
And one of them is poisonous
The other is a thief they say
So what one could give to her
The other cannot take away

When nobody knows she puts on secret clothes
And lies in her splendour for a picture opportunity
Cover up that bruise, put on patent leather shoes
Just stop playing that bad mood music

Thirteen steps lead down
Thirteen steps lead down
There's commoners and kings
And everyone's a prisoner
Of paper and glue and a decent pair of scissors
So tonight I'm drinking to your health
Because I just can't stand myself

Thirteen steps lead down
Thirteen steps lead down
Thirteen steps lead down
Thirteen steps lead down


This Is Hell

This is hell, this is hell I am sorry to tell you
It never gets better or worse
But you'll get used to it after a spell
For heaven is hell in reverse

The bruiser spun a hula hoop while all the barmen preen and pout
The neon "i" of nightclub flickers on and off and finally blew out
The irritating jingle of the belly-dancing phony Turkish girls
The eerie glare of ultra violet perfect dental work

This is hell I am sorry to tell you
It never gets better or worse (it never gets better or worse)
But you'll get used to it after a spell
For heaven is hell in reverse

The failed Don Juan in the big bow-tie is very sorry that he spoke
For he's mislaid his punchline more than halfway through a very tasteless joke
The fräulein caught him peeking down her gown
He's yelling in her ear
And all at once the music stopped as he was intimately bellowing "My dear..."

This is hell, this is hell I am sorry to tell you
It never gets better or worse (it never gets better or worse)
But you'll get used to it after a spell
For heaven is hell in reverse

The shirt you wore with courage and the violent nylon suit
Reappear upon your back and undermine the polished line you try to shoot
It's not the torment of the flames that finally see your flesh corrupted
It's the small humiliations that your memory piles up
This is hell, this is hell, this is hell, this is hell
Hell

"My Favourite Things" are playing again and again
But it's by Julie Andrews and not by John Coltrane
Endless balmy breezes and perfect sunsets framed
Vintage wine for breakfast and naked starlets floating in Champagne
All the passions of your youth are tranquillised and tamed
You may think it looks familiar, though you may know it by another name

This is hell (this is hell), this is hell (this is hell) I am sorry to tell you
It never gets better or worse (it never gets better or worse)
But you'll get used to it after a spell
For heaven is hell in reverse
This is hell, this is hell


Clown Strike

She'll fix you with an iron cross
And cover you up with petals
And hang you up with some amber beads
And four or five precious metals
And in that black flamingo chair you'll sit among her trophies
And pray to be abandoned 'til you don't know what hope is

(Chorus:)
But there's one thing
That I had to keep inside because I was shaking
Why don't you get some pride
There was a clown strike
And the clowns threw down their tools
But you don't have to play so hard
And I'm nobody's fool
You don't have to go so far
'Cause I love you as you are

The big top is deserted now and the circus girl rehearses
She knows how to turn their heads and not fall between two horses
But all that seems a simple step, if only I were able
To love you like I want to do
And not by some times table

(Repeat Chorus)

And it's pandemonium
For the humble and the mighty
You don't have to tumble for me
Even a clown knows when to strike

Tell me what you want of me
Or are you terrified of failure
Put on a superstitious face behind all this paraphernalia
We're not living in a masquerade where you only have three wishes
It isn't easy to see in a lifetime of mistaken kisses

(Repeat Chorus)

And it's pandemonium
For the humble and the mighty
You don't have to tumble for me
Even a clown knows when to strike


You Tripped At Every Step

Take your tiny feet out of your mother's shoes
Or there is going to be a terrible scene
It's not just the lipstick drawn on crooked
When they find how wicked we are
How wicked we have been
How I've been tempted
How you tripped at every step
You tripped at every step
You tripped at every step
How you tripped at every step

There's a merry tune that starts in "I" and ends in "You"
Like many famous pop songs do
And you would sing along with little tell-tale staggers
While balancing on daggers
Though they were killing you
You looked so deadly
As you tripped at every step
You tripped at every step
You tripped at every step
As you tripped at every step

And I would run to catch you
Anytime you call
Only you drank that potion
And went out of control
There's nothing to stop you
So how can you fall
Let me take your hand
Put down that frying pan

Darkness would become me
Underneath the table
As the fury raged around the house
Your despairing tread was angry and unstable
You never suspected
Just as that cartoon mouse
Went undetected
So you tripped at every step

In another world of gin and cigarettes
Those cocktail cabinets put mud in your eye
Maybe that is why you find it hard to see me
And if you don't believe me
Before you start to cry
"Don't ever leave me"
As you start to lose your grip
(As you start losing your grip)
You will stumble and you slip
(And you will stumble and slip)
As you tripped at every step
You tripped at every step
You tripped at every step
As you tripped at every step

You tripped at every step
You tripped at every step
As you tripped at every
As you tripped at every
You tripped at every step
You tripped at every step
As you tripped at every
As you tripped at every step


Still Too Soon To Know

Do you love him?
Or is it still too soon to know?
When I think back a couple of days
Before I found you in his spell
Was there a warning?
What can I say?
Should I look away?
It's still too soon to know

Are you sorry
Or is it still to soon to know?
It didn't take much to break us in two
For it was in the way that he came close to touching you
The look in your eyes
I thought I recognised
It's still too soon to know

And it's still too soon to know
Will you stay or will you go?
It's still too soon to know

When I think back a couple of days
If I wasn't happy then
I never will be
I wonder was this ignorance or bliss
It's still too soon to know


20% Amnesia

"What is your destiny?" the policewoman said
20% amnesia
The word that she wanted was "destination," I'm afraid
20% amnesia
This is your future boy, this is your fate
20% amnesia
And you're obsolete and they can't afford to educate you
20% amnesia

In his bed-time boot-boy jersey
Ringing up some fantasy tart
Give me strength or give me mercy
Life intimidates art

Give me strength or give me mercy
Don't let me lose heart
From rage to anaesthesia
20% amnesia

Were you passed out on the sofa?
20% amnesia
While justice was bartered by a drunken oaf?
20% amnesia
This is all your glorious country thinks of your life
20% amnesia
Strip-jack-naked with a Stanley knife
20% amnesia

So the German Queen went home again
But she couldn't find forgiveness
They made a fist of the hand of friendship
But it's only business

Give me strength or give me mercy
Don't let me lose heart
From rage to anaesthesia
20% amnesia

The wine you drink has never seen a grape
And now your sci-fi suit has lost its shape
But its a dangerous game that comedy plays
Sometimes it tells you the truth
Sometimes it delays it

Think back, think back if you still can
When the trumpet sounded and the world began
Somebody said "We must have won"
So they started burying the bogeyman

Mister Gorbachev came cap in hand
20% amnesia
From a bankrupt land to a bankrupt land
20% amnesia
Mister Gorbachev and some other fella
20% amnesia
Were taken to a show called "Cinderella"
20% amnesia
It wasn't an accident, it wasn't a mystery
20% amnesia
It was calculated and the rest is history
20% amnesia

You don't have to listen to me
That's the triumph of free will
When there are promises to break
And dreams to kill

Give me strength or give me mercy
Don't let me lose heart
From rage to anaesthesia
20% amnesia


Sulky Girl

She wears a wedding ring her sister lent
To throw them off the scent
Just let them guess, it's what they expect
Who in the world has bitten her neck
She's discovered wearing last night's dress
The carnal and cunning, she couldn't express
"Who do you think she's trying to impress?"

(Chorus:)
I think you'd better hold your tongue
Although you've never been that strong
I'm sorry to say that I knew all along
You're no match for that sulky girl

She left her European town
Before she let the family down
She couldn't stand the Massacre Game
So she dyed her hair, adopted another name
With the evidence of passing out
Stamped on her hand
She glows in the dark
He thinks she's from another planet
So...

(Repeat Chorus)

Sulky girl, I'm sure you look a picture when you cry
Threatening the silent treatment doesn't qualify
It's like money in the bank
Your expression is blank
But when the chance appears
You'll be nearer to tears
Sulky girl, sulky girl

He said "Hello, my pretty flower"
Just trying out his tycoon power
Avoiding the mirror
Her pitying stare
She said "You're mistaken, your money's no good in here"
Just some stupid little know-it-all
Who thought she looked easy
He's not that astute
He'll pay for the distance
Between cruelty and beauty

(Repeat Chorus)

I won't tell you again
What do you gain
By blackening her name
She's smarter than you
Oh isn't it a shame
You're gonna lose that sulky girl

Sulky girl, I saw you practising your blackmail faces
Suddenly you're talking like a duchess
But you're still a waitress
I saw through your pretence
But in my defence
There are a few events
I think we'll spare the censor
Sulky girl, sulky girl
Sulky girl, sulky girl


London's Brilliant Parade

Outside my window
Not long before sleep arrives
They come with their sirens
And they sweep away all the boys
Busy draining the joy from their lives
They never said their prayers out loud

And while I'm dreaming
There's a passing motor car
That broadcasts a popular song
And a girl appears to be saying
"Do you think that I'm going to go far?"

(Chorus:)
Just look at me
I'm having the time of my life
Or something quite like it
When I'm walking out and about
In London's brilliant parade

She's one of those girls that you just can't place
You feel guilty desiring such an innocent face
But of course they knew that when they cast her
Along with the red Routemaster
And the film takes place in an MGB
And a perfect re-creation of "The Speakeasy"
Everybody looks happy and twisted
Though she probably never existed
For old times' sake
Don't let me awake

I wouldn't want you to walk across Hungerford Bridge
Especially at twilight
Looking through the bolts and the girders
Into the water below
You'll never find your answer there

They sounded the "all-clear" in the occidental bazaar
They used to call Oxford Street
Now the bankrupt souls in the city
Are finally tasting defeat

Don't look at me
I'm having the time of my life
Or something quite like it
When I'm walking out and about
In London's brilliant parade
When I'm walking out and about
In London's brilliant parade

From the gates of St. Mary's
There were horses in Olympia
And a trolley bus in Fulham Broadway
The lions and the tigers in Regent's Park
Couldn't pay their way
And now they're not the only ones
At the Hammersmith Palais
In Kensington and Camden Town
There's a part that I used to play
The lovely Diorama is really part of the drama, I'd say

(Repeat Chorus Twice)


My Science Fiction Twin

My science fiction twin
Is doing better than expected
He captured a little blonde trophy wife
Who's really very well connected
And when he calls home with his alibi
She says "Is this really necessary?"
But she knows that a man can't be a man
Unless he's punishing his secretary

He sips in the glow of a '61 vintage
Just as the day is dimming
With every intention of surrendering
To fifty-foot women
Who put the fascination back into my science fiction twin

My science fiction twin
Decided to become invisible
He has my eyes, my face, my voice
But he's only happy when I'm miserable
The words flew from his mouth
And they were gently gathered by reporters
Trying to frame his once infamous flame
With tattered pictures of her daughter

"Her hair is all made out of porcupine
Her figure is fantastic"
But as you know, they corrupted her
So they're being sarcastic
To put the fascination back into my science fiction twin

He'll scream and shout
Everything is working out just as he predicted
Pride and position in the gallery of attempted people
Oh and the pain is so sweet
That he'll stamp his little feet
And you'll even have time to pity me
How can you feel content?
You'll wonder where this fellow went

My science fiction twin
Escorted by his lovely nieces
Filled up his purse dictating verse
While painting masterpieces
His almost universal excellence
Is starting to disturb me
They asked how in the world he does all these things
And he answered "Superbly"

He's trapped in his own parallel dimension
That's why I'm so forgiving
But how could I possibly forget to mention
Those fifty-foot women
Who put the fascination back into my science fiction twin

My science fiction twin
My science fiction twin
My science fiction twin
My science fiction twin


Rocking Horse Road

The chains from the bridle and the reins fell from my hands
And the engines are idle and the ship sails on dry land
I stood there stupefied, I thought I recognised
Walking down Rocking Horse Road - getting lost

Shot through Vaseline, he picks up the paper from the lawn
And tucks "The Suburban Assassin" underneath his arm
He smiles weakly and turns away
I know I'll never come to harm
Walking down Rocking Horse Road - it's so peaceful

It's like a photograph
From the other side of the world
I said "I want you only"
And then I left you alone
Crying on Rocking Horse Road - or somewhere quite like it

The cemetery gardens, there are names, not numbers, on the gateposts
And the eyes in the curtain follow you like a smirking ghost
I know I must not look back
'Cos part of me is waiting still
There on Rocking Horse Road for you
In a little dreamhouse made for two
Well you were the one who made your escape
In your stocking feet and your sticky tape
All the way down
All the way down
All the way down
All the way down
All the way down

Walking down Rocking Horse
Rocking Rocking Rocking Horse...


Just About Glad

I'm just about glad that I knew you once
And it was more than just a passing acquaintance
I'm just about glad that it was a memory
That doesn't need constant maintenance
There are a few things that I regret
But nothing that I need to forget
For all of the courage that we never had
I'm just about glad

(Chorus:)
Just about glad we didn't do that thing
Just about glad we didn't have that fling
Just about glad we didn't give it a try
Just about glad, is that a tear in your eye?

And on the few times I rang to propose
There was a man there or so I'd suppose
The greatest lover that you never had
I'm just about glad

They called time and vodka and lime
In some far flung Canadian club
Just about glad
And there I was just waiting to fall
Like a toe just aching to stub

Just about glad
Later on I could never accept it
When you finally gave it all to him
Just about glad
And you said that my nurse was sweet
But her lamp was just beginning to dim

I'm just about glad
That we never did that thing that we were going to do
I'm just about glad I can look you in the eye
But I can't say the same for you
And though the passion still flutters and flickers
It never got into our knickers
For all of the courage that we never had
I'm just about, I'm just about
I'm just about, I'm just about

(Repeat Chorus)

And it's all just a stupid creation
Of my feverish imagination
If I'm the greatest lover that you never had
I'm just about, I'm just about
I'm just about, I'm just about

(Repeat Chorus)

Is that a tear in your eye?
Is that a tear in your eye?
Is that a tear in your eye?


All The Rage

The twitching impulse is to speak your mind
I'll lend you my microscope and maybe you will find it
Is it in that ugly place that's just behind your face?
Where you keep my picture still
Despite the fact that you had me replaced

Chorus:
Say "Goodbye"
Baby can't you act your age?
You know why
I'm going to give it to you straight
Although I'll never be unhappy as you want me to be
Still it's all the rage

I'll probably play along left to my own devices
Spare me the drone of your advice
The sins of garter and gin confession may delay
You know the measuring pole, the merry boots of clay
I've heard it all before
You'll say it anyway

Chorus

Alone with your tweezers and your handkerchief
You murder time and truth, love, laughter and belief
So don't try to touch my heart, it's darker than you think
And don't try to read my mind because it's full of disappearing ink

Chorus

Although I'll never be unhappy as you want me to be
Still it's all the rage


Favourite Hour

Figure hanging on a leather band
Cog consults the watch he cups in his hand
Bejewelled movement measures lost and vanished time
Pray for the boy who makes his bed in cold earth and quicklime

(Chorus:)
So stay the hands, arrest the time
Till I am captured by your touch
Blessings I don't count, small mercies and such
The flags may lower as we approach the favourite hour

Now there's a tragic waste of brutal youth
Strip and polish this unvarnished truth
The tricky door that gapes beneath the ragged noose
The crippled verdict begs again for the lamest excuse...

(Repeat Chorus)

Put out my eyes so I may never spy
Waving branches as they're waving goodbye
Their vile perfume brings to my mouth a bitter taste
The murmuring brooks had best speak up, it's a terrible waste...

(Repeat Chorus)


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Brutal Youth
Brutal Youth album cover.jpg
studio album by
Elvis Costello
ReleasedMarch 8, 1994
Recorded-
ProducerMitchell Froom and Elvis Costello
LabelWarner Bros.
Length57:22
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