How To Be Dumb

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I was hell-bent on destroying my powers of concentration
While you were living like a saint
And all the time the very one you trusted
Was washing off somebody else's paint

Now you've got yourself a brand new occupation
Every fleeting thought is a pearl
And beautiful people stampede to the doorway
Of the funniest fucker in the world

They're here to help you satisfy your desires
There's a bright future for all you professional liars

(chorus):
Now you know how to be dumb
Are you ready to take your place in the modern museum of mistakes?
Don't you know how to be dumb?
Like a building thrown up overnight in one of those reverse earthquakes

They emptied out all the asylums, they emptied out all the gaols
The "New Bruise" was the name of a dance craze
By "Jesus Cross and the Cruel Nails"
Followed up by "Torturing Little Beaver"
With their contraption of barbed wire
Between the fear and the fever lies all the rejection they require

They'll be howling by midnight, they'll be drooling by dawn
Skulls shrunk down to the size of their brains
Heads shaven and shorn

(chorus)

Trapped in the House of the Perpetual Sucker
Where bitterness always ends so pitifully
You always had to dress up your envy in some half-remembered philosophy

Now you're masquerading as a pale powdered genius
Whose every bad intention has been purged
You could've walked out any time you wanted
But face it, you didn't have the courage
I guess that makes you a full time hypocrite
Or some kind of twisted dilettante
Funny though people don't usually get so ugly
Till they think they know what they want

Scratch your own head, stupid
Count up to three
Roll over on your back
Repeat after me:

Don't you know how to be dumb?
Are you ready to take your place in the modern museum of mistakes?
Don't you know how to be dumb?
Like a building thrown up overnight in one of those reverse earthquakes

How To Be Dumb
Written byDeclan MacManus
Performed byElvis Costello
Produced byMitchell Froom, Kevin Killen & D.P.A. MacManus
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, big stupid guitar
Pete Thomas - drums
Jerry Scheff - bass
Roger Lewis - baritone saxophone
Marc Ribot - electric rhythm guitar
Larry Knechtel - grand piano, Hammond B3 organ
Mitchell Froom & Marc Ribot - industrial jack-ass
E.C. & Pierre - maracas
Recordedlate 1990-early 1991, Ocean Way, Hollywood & Westside Studios, London
ReleasedMay 10, 1991
AlbumsMighty Like A Rose, 1991
PromosSelections From Armed Forces - Imperial Bedroom - Mighty Like A Rose, 2002
Length5:09

First known performance:
May 25, 1991, Santa Barbara, CA
Last known performance:
October 6, 2004, Glasgow, Scotland
     (46 known performances)


Mighty Like A RoseMLAR album cover large.jpg

Covers

Mimmo Locasciulli Il Futuro(sung in Italian as "Vita da Scemo") 1998 AllmusicAmazoninfoinfo

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