Imperial Bedroom lyrics

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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

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

Tears Before Bedtime

I know the name on the tip of your tongue
And I know that accusing look
Everybody knows I've been so wrong
That's the problem and here's the hook

Tears before bedtime
There'll be trouble tonight
I don't want to talk about it anymore
I don't want to have another fight
I don't want to talk I don't want to fight
How wrong can I be before I am right

For the tears that you boo hoo hoo
There can be no defence
You say you'll forgive and forget
But it's only a pretense


Either you can leave the past behind
Or give me something to disconnect my mind
I sleep with my fists clenched tight
When I don't lie awake all night
I guess time gave up the ghost too late
And the balance of our love
Very soon turns to hate

Darling your suspiciousness
Tortures me at night
But I can't excuse the cruel words
That I use whenever we fight


Shabby Doll

Giving you more of what for
Always worked for me before
Now I'm a shabby doll
What's going on behind the green elevator door
With just a shabby doll

There's a hit man facing
A compromising situation
With just a shabby doll
And a very neat line in character assassination
She's just a shabby doll

She's just a shabby doll
She's putting him off and putting you on
She's just a shabby doll
She's just the shabby doll
You're swearing upon, you know in your heart
She's gone, you know in your heart
She's just a shabby doll

There's a girl in this dress
There's always a girl in distress
She's just a shabby doll
She's so sure she's self-possessed
Then again she's half undressed
She's just a shabby doll

The boy that I used to be
Showed no sign of sympathy
For just a shabby doll
I have betrayed you and me
And paid for my own bribery
With just a shabby doll


He's the tired toy that everyone's enjoyed
He wants to be a fancy man but he's nothing but a nancy boy
He's all pride and no joy

And being what you might call a whore
Always worked for me before
Now I'm a shabby doll
Untie the gag, the cat's out of the bag
But won't show his claws
He's just a shabby doll

She said you must be joking
Some things are left unspoken
You're just a shabby doll
He's lying limp and soaking
He was openly broken
By just a shabby doll


The Long Honeymoon

All the bedroom lights go out
As the neighbourhood gets quiet
Everything in heaven and earth is almost right
But there's a wife who's wondering where her husband could be tonight
And when the phone rang only once she took a dreadful fright

Little things just seem to undermine her confidence in him
He was late this time last week
Who can she turn to when the chance of coincidence is slim
'Cause the baby isn't old enough to speak

There's been a long honeymoon
She thought too late and spoke too soon
There's no money back guarantee on future happiness
There's been a long honeymoon
If he's out on a date then her life's in ruins
She never thought her love could ever be as strong as this

All the movies and the papers
Feature the murders of lonely women
If he isn't in by ten she'll call up her best friend
Why doesn't he come home
Why does her friend's phone keep on ringing
Maybe she should just pretend


Be as strong as this...

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 tuppenny ha'penny 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


The biggest wheels of industry
Retire sharp and short
And the after dinner overtures
Are nothing but an afterthought
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


Almost Blue

Almost blue
Almost doing things we used to do
There's a girl here and she's almost you
All the things that your eyes once promised
I see in hers too
Now your eyes are red from crying

Almost blue
Flirting with this disaster became me
It named me as the fool who only aimed to be

Almost blue
It's almost touching it will almost do
There's a part of me that's always true... always
Not all good things come to an end now, it is only a chosen few
I have seen such an unhappy couple

Almost me
Almost you
Almost blue

...And In Every Home

You turn to the sinister when you get the boot
Sliding down the banister in your Sunday suit
Lying on a slag-heap of blankets and magazines
She's only thirty-five going on seventeen
You'd better roll over and go to sleep if you don't come clean

And in every home there will be lots of time
I will be all yours you might have been admired
(And in every home there will be lots of time)
They say they're very sorry but you are not desired
Oh heaven preserve us
Oh heaven preserve us
Oh heaven preserve us
Because they don't deserve us

Holding your life in your hand
With an artificial limp wrist
And so a young blade becomes a has-been
Looking for a new twist

A year after the wedding he broke all their china plates
He's in prison now she's running with his mates
Sees him every Sunday
And he asks her where she's been
She's only thirty-five going on seventeen
She's going to cop a packet if he ever finds her
In between the sheets


The Loved Ones

Don't get smart or sarcastic
He snaps back just like elastic
Spare us the theatrics and the verbal gymnastics
We break wise guys just like matchsticks

What would the loved ones say

(Your pride and joy is all blown up)

What would the loved ones say

(The bride and boy are barely grown up)

You're not my particular poison
I've got nothing against you myself
You could have been a danger to the boys and girls
Now you're a danger to yourself

Oh what would the loved ones say
What would the loved ones say
Oh what would the loved ones say
What would the loved ones say

The ugly little dreams run 'round your bed
The ugly little scenes, you get the needle and no thread
They stitched you up this time
They said you'll do
Then bitch about your pretty face turning ugly on you

The butcher, baker and the bassline maker
Say you can leave her I can take her
You spend your your whole life like a minute or two later
One day its going to end sooner than greater

What would the loved ones say

(He'll be remembered young and pretty)

What would the loved ones say

(Now he's a hit in every city)

Now there's a name well never forget
There's one born every minute or two
Don't pin a medal on me yet
They might be waiting for you



Human Hands

I've been talking to the wall and it's been answering me
Oh darling, how I miss you
I'm just the mere shadow of my former selfishness
I crave the silhouette of your kiss
With only the blue light of the TV on
Lip-reading threats and false alarms
There's a boy somewhere holding hands with himself
And a girl in a window on the Reeperbahn

Whenever I put my foot in my mouth and you begin to doubt
That it's you that I'm dreaming about
Do I have to draw you a diagram?
All I ever want is just to fall into your human hands

With the kings and queens of the dance hall craze
Checkmate in three moves in your heyday
But the girls don't listen to your line anymore
Now you're part of someone else
On the factory floor you still say "Wheres the action?"
Now you manufacture happiness
And get sold on the cheap for someone's satisfaction


All you toy soldiers and scaremongers
Are you living in this world, sometimes I wonder
In between saying you've seen too much
And saying you've seen it all before
Tighter and tighter, I hold you tightly
You know I love you more than slightly
Although I've never said it like this before


Kid About It

He saw no tears in her eyes
Say you wouldn't kid about it
She's telling all of those lies
She swore she'd never told before
But I doubt it

So he bit his tongue
And tried hard to capture his breath
When she said I waited all my life
For just a little death

Say you wouldn't kid about it
Say you wouldn't kid about it
Say you wouldn't kid about it
Say you wouldn't kid about it

Sometimes he takes himself so seriously
She makes her movements mysteriously
Slow fast or furiously

It's a big responsibility
With a face full of mixed ability
Big dreams of elegance
Singing "The Leaving of Liverpool"
And turning into Americans
Say you wouldn't kid about it

So what if this is a man's world
I want to be a kid again about it
Give me back my sadness
I couldn't hide it even if I tried, girl

We fight so frail
Making love tooth and nail
You gave me the kiss of my life
I might even live to tell the tale


Little Savage

I would have waited all my life
Just to make love out of something other than spite
But the beauty is the beast you're baiting
Should really be worth the waiting

You do something very special to Mr. Average
Now the lamb lies with the lion
He's just a little savage

And so you turn your back on me
And all the hot air that only echoes stale tobacco


Actions speak louder now than words
By just a fraction
What's the use of saying I love you when I'm drinking to distraction
We save our sanity
By saying such and such
After it's all been discussed
You say you must be touched


Boy With A Problem

I feel like a boy with a problem
I can't believe what we've forgotten
And I even slapped your face and made you cry

It's the last thing I want to do
Pull the curtains on me and you
Pull the carpet from under love
Pull out like young lovers do
You swore you wouldn't shout
If it's not your punch, then it's your pout

Days in silence try my temper
Nights spent drinking to remember
How memories are always tender

I crept out last night behind your back
The little they know might be the piece I lack
Came home drunk
Talking in circles
The spirit is willing but I don't believe in miracles
I've got a problem but let's go to bed
I can roll over and I can play dead
But here I am in the doghouse instead

I feel like a boy with a problem
I can't believe all you've forgotten
Sleeping with forgiveness in your heart for me

Pidgin English

There's a young girl with her old man who's too sick to mention
She'll be turning twenty seven as she draws her widow's pension
But he couldn't catch a common cold he couldn't get arrested
Too terrified to answer back
Too tired to have resisted

Many hands make light work
Shorthand makes life easy
When he's out on night work
Make sure no one sees me
It all ends up in a slanging match with body talk and bruises
A change is better than a rest
Silly beggars can't be choosers

One of a thousand pities you can't categorize
There are ten commandments of love
When will you realise
There are ten commandments of love
I believe, I trust, I promise, I wish love's just a throwaway kiss
In this Pidgin English

If you're so wise, use your lips and your eyes
Take it to the bridge she sighs

You go cheep cheep cheep between bulleyes and bluster
Stiff as your poker face
Keener than mustard
From your own back yard to the land of exotica
From the truth society to neurotic erotica

Silence is golden
Money talks diamonds and ermine
There's a word in Spanish, Italian and German
In sign language, morse code, semaphore and gibberish
Have you forgotten how to say it
In your Pidgin English?


PS I love you

You Little Fool

Daddy's best girl in the world is not supposed to have a boyfriend
But she's never wanted at home
Other girls are allowed to wear their makeup
She sneaks out her lipstick, powder and comb
She surrounds his name with hearts and flowers
Talks on the telephone for hours and hours
But with the bird in his hand
And two on a string
The words of love have an imitation ring

You little fool, you little fool
I suppose that you're going to stay all night
You little fool
Don't look at me that way, you know it isn't right
You little fool

They say no news is good news
The little girl wants information
Mother just gives her some pills to choose
And says go and use your imagination

Daddy's best girl in the world says just look what I got
As she sits beside him on the high stool
With his arm around her neck, snowball in one hand
And the other full of imitation jewels
She fingers a string of pearls
An imitation but he'll never know it
Imitation lashes flutter above
Looking for an imitation of love


Town Cryer

I'm the town cryer
And everybody knows
I'm a little down
With a lifetime to go
Maybe you don't believe my heart is in the right place
Why don't you take a good look at my face
Other boys use the splendour of their trembling lip
They're so teddy bear tender and tragically hip

I'm never going to cry again
I'm going to be as strong as them
They say they'd die for love
And then they live it out
They'll give you something to cry about
And suddenly you really fall to pieces


Love and unhappiness go arm in arm
Long-suffering friends of your fatal charm
Living for the pity that you're going to get hurt
Just a little boy lost in a big man's shirt
And suddenly you really fall to pieces


<< Almost Blue‎ Punch The Clock >>
Imperial Bedroom
Imperial Bedroom album cover.jpg
ReleasedJuly 2, 1982
RecordedNovember 1981, AIR Studios, London
ProducerGeoff Emerick from an original idea by Elvis Costello
Length50:57 (original LP)
78:05 (1994 reissue)
50:57 + 69:54 (2002 reissue)
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