When I Was Cruel No. 2

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I exit through the spotlight glare
I stepped out into thin air
Into a perfume so rarefied
"Here comes the bride"

Not quite aside, they snide, "She's number four"
"There's number three just by the door"
Those in the know, don't even flatter her, they go one better
"She was selling speedboats in a tradeshow when he met her"

Look at her now
She's starting to yawn
She looks like she was born to it
But it was so much easier
When I was cruel

She reaches out her arms to me
Imploring: "Another melody?"
So she can dance her husband out on the floor
The captains of industry just lie there where they fall
In eau-de-nil and pale carnation creation
A satin sash and velvet elevation
She straightens the tipsy head-dress of her spouse
While her recalls a honey house

There'll be no sorrows left to drown
Early in the morning in your evening gown
But it was so much easier
When I was cruel

The entrance hall was arranged with hostesses and ushers
Who turned out to be the younger wives nursing schoolgirl crushes
Parting the waves of those few feint friends
Fingers once offered are now too heavy to extend
The ghostly first wife glides up stage-whispering to raucous talkers
Spilling family secrets out to flunkeys and castrato walkers
See that girl
Watch that scene
Digging the "Dancing Queen"

Two newspaper editors like playground sneaks
Running the book on which of them is going to last the week
One of them calls to me and he says, "I know you"
"You gave me this tattoo back in '82"
"You were a spoilt child then with a record to plug"
"And I was a shaven-headed seaside thug"
"Things haven't really changed that much"
"One of us is still getting paid too much"

There are some things I can't report
The memory of his last retort
But it was so much easier
When I was cruel

Look at me now
She's starting to yawn
She looks like she was born to it
Ah, but it was so much easier
When I was cruel

When I Was Cruel No. 2
Written byElvis Costello
Performed byElvis Costello
Produced byThe Imposter: Elvis Costello, Ciaran Cahill, Leo Pearson & Kieran Lynch
Horn arrangementElvis Costello
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocals, SP-202, Ferrington Baritone, Fender Bass Six & Silvertone electric guitars
Steve Nieve - piano
Bill Ware - vibraphone
Recorded2001, Windmill Lane Studios, Dublin
Vibraphone recorded September 24, 2001, Avatar Studios, New York
ReleasedApril 15, 2002
AlbumsWhen I Was Cruel, 2002
CollectionsUnfaithful Music & Soundtrack Album, 2015
Various Artists collectionsSpex CD #18, 2002
NoteRecording contains elements from Un Bacio È Troppo Poco, written by Antonio Amurri & Bruno Canfora and performed by Mina.

First known performance:
May 4, 2001, London, England
Last known performance:
     (220 known performances)

Alternate versions

Honeyhouse (Cruel No. 2)
Performed byElvis Costello
Remixed byThe Imposter: Ciaran Cahill, Leo Pearson & Kieran Lynch
ReleasedSeptember 23, 2002
AlbumsWhen I Was Cruel - Collectors Edition, 2002
Cruel Smile, 2002
NoteRemix of When I Was Cruel No. 2.

see also: When I Was Cruel (No. 1)

When I Was CruelWIWC album cover 400.jpg

Cruel Smile2002 Cruel Smile Album small.jpg

Unfaithful Music & Soundtrack AlbumUnfaithful Music & Soundtrack Album album cover.jpg


Erich Sellheim home studio production, sung in German 2021 YouTube

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