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Elvis Costello — Tear Off Your Own Head
Album: When I Was Cruel
Avg rating:
6.1

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1414









Released: 2002
Length: 3:19
Plays (last 30 days): 2
Who dries your eyes when you cry real tears?
Who knows or cares what an imitation is?
Only you do
You can paint his nails
Make him wear high heels
Why waste time altering the hemline?
Or do you?

Tear off your own head
Tear off your own head
It's a doll revolution

You can bat your lashes
You can cut your strings
You can pull his hair with your moveable fingers
It looks so real
If one won't do it, so collect the set
Dress him in pink ribbons
Put him in a kitchenette
How does this feel?

Tear off your own head
Tear off your own head
It's a doll revolution

What's that sound?
It will turn you around
It's a doll revolution

They're taking over
And they're tearing it down
It's a doll revolution

You can pull and pinch him
'Til he cries and squeals
You can twist his body 'til it faces backwards
Those plastic features
You could make somebody a pretty little wife
But don't let anybody tell you how to live your life
Broken pieces

Tear off your own head
Tear off your own head
It's a doll revolution
Tear off your own head
Revolution
Comments (148)add comment
He could sing Mary Had A little Lamb and I’d love it!!! Love him!!!
Darn it. Hatin' on Elvis is a losing proposition. But I love to do it. And apparently he loves changing my mind. I mean, after his initial excellence, he pulled some BS. Artsy fartsy pretentious non-sense. But he's still Elvis. Oh well. Crawling back under my rock.
 Soopertimes wrote:

This album always reminds me of my divorce. As I was packing up my CDs my ex asked to have this album to remind her of me. Only time she expressed interest in either Elvis Costello or me in our 10 yr marriage



hoping you took it with you...
I want to hate Elvis Costello but I just cant.
This album always reminds me of my divorce. As I was packing up my CDs my ex asked to have this album to remind her of me. Only time she expressed interest in either Elvis Costello or me in our 10 yr marriage
 lemmoth wrote:

old posts by some cranky wankers dissing EC does not really constitute dislike .  40 plus year s of constantly challenging listeners, evolving and always brilliant songwriting  makes him my #3 of all time after the Beatles and Bowie.


Awww  ya lost me at Bowie  
This guy is great and I disagree he is over played. Peter Gabriel is over played but not Declan McManus, Sir!
I don't mind EC but he's over-played on RP relative to other artists.......
 cely wrote:
"Tear off your own head" is a great lyric imo.  Such a profusion of possible meanings.  And yet EC seems like one of the most despised figures here on RP.  Like the question of how anyone could find anything good in Trump, I am baffled by the dislike of Elvis Costello.  The former touches a nerve of some uncertain euphoria as the country burns while the latter provokes contempt because...what? 
 
old posts by some cranky wankers dissing EC does not really constitute dislike .  40 plus year s of constantly challenging listeners, evolving and always brilliant songwriting  makes him my #3 of all time after the Beatles and Bowie.
This is so awful, I mean really bad if I donate more can we hear less of this circus music?
I don't understand the lack of love for this song (average rating 6.1). I'm not a Costello fan, but this song rocks.
 inmanart wrote:
to much Elvis on RP!!
 
I saw what you did there...
c.
"Tear off your own head" is a great lyric imo.  Such a profusion of possible meanings.  And yet EC seems like one of the most despised figures here on RP.  Like the question of how anyone could find anything good in Trump, I am baffled by the dislike of Elvis Costello.  The former touches a nerve of some uncertain euphoria as the country burns while the latter provokes contempt because...what? 
to much Elvis on RP!!
 kbs wrote:

kicks bass!
 

You 2 should go fishing & kick some Bass Ass!
 bfrinkl1 wrote:
This song kicks ass. 
 
kicks bass!
I am the most reluctant EC fan on the planet. But sometimes he hits an, er, inner note in a way almost nobody else can. Gets way under your skin, despite all the scratching to stop it from doing so. Tear off your own head stuff? It's what most folk outgrow. But having done so then turning back around and having to watch others do it now? Yeah, not pleasant stuff. 
EC is probably the most overrated artist I have heard on RP... you guys kick a** though
it's a thought revolution... but it's not.
I kept on thinking he is singing "tear off your own head".  what!?!
one of the lesser songs on a very good record
Interesting and different than much of his more familiar material. 

Kind of dig this.
This song kicks ass. 
Nice base, reverb, percussion.  Good vibe.  (Have to read the lyrics, no prob)
Cloths pin on the nose.
Love this guy badly <3
Yeah!  The melody and hook and sound of the words are what are important!
Liking some of this lesser known Elvis stuff lately Bill!
Musically, this kicks ass. And the lyrics remind me of his "Angels wanna wear" period where he said he didn't care much about shoes, but the phonetics of the word "shoes" was what he cared about. That sounds like the point here: how the words sound.

and that fantastic wobbly, lost bass line. Excellent. 
EC has some fantastic stuff but by this point he had really started to lose it.
Is that an attempt at harmonization?
The real Elvis.
Everybody in my alien space craft loves this song...
Such a great set of rock 'n roll, till we got to this song.
yes this does sound like Elvis Costello!
Should follow this with Doll Hospital by John Hiatt.  He would probably cringe as he hates the album, and that time in his life, but I think it would fit with this song.
EC sounds like even he doesn't care about this song...
"They're taking over,
And they're tearing it down.
It's a doll revolution."

 
Accurate, and irony of the highest order, as it comes from Mr. Costello.
 oldfart48 wrote:
do you play this drivel just because you can?

 
No, just because he should.  {#Wink}
do you play this drivel just because you can?
 Vinni_NL wrote:
Boring as hell, next please.
 
Um...no.  That is one thing EC can never be accused of.  
A strange coincidence that this song came on while I was reading this.  So close!
Wow - only a 6.1 everyone?  This is cool tune - a very solid 7+!
This guy is always much cooler than the unreasonable association my mind made before I had ever heard him.
I love EC. How about some Nick Lowe ...and so it goes...
Abraham Lincoln... Vampire Hunter !!    what does this have to do with elvis?........nothing whatsoever

8
 tphord wrote:
Even tho I generally cannot stand Elvis Costello... this was not bad.
 

Exactly my sentiment!  So imagine my puzzlement that this is only rated 6.1
 tphord wrote:
Even tho I generally cannot stand Elvis Costello... this was not bad.
 

Even though I am a massive Elvis fan (every record including many bootlegs, dozens of shows) this is not very good.
Really surprised at the low rating. Come on RP people. . . turn this sucker up and revel it its majesty. 9
Mid-period, Beatley Costello. Not great if I'm honest.
Even tho I generally cannot stand Elvis Costello... this was not bad.
Boring as hell, next please.
Better than Pretty Good, according to the ratings average. Excellent, by my Energetic Pulse Index scale.
Thought this was the Smithereens at first.
 black321 wrote:
rather annoying song...from a sometimes excellent, often times irksome artist.
 
funny how perceptions differ... to me it's a rather - uncommonly - excellent EC song (however, I agree with the rest of the above sentence).


Oh, holy crap.  I have the Bangles' version of this, and it's so FUN! Elvis - too serious... Bangles - fun, tuneful, escapist.  High point:  Suzannah Hoffs singing "Twist his/her body till it faces backwards..." She's got such a wonderful snark there....

I love Elvis - but for this song, I vote for the Bangles.
rather annoying song...from a sometimes excellent, often times irksome artist.
after that last shite, "Most Excellent."
can't stand his voice  {#Headache}
 EssexTex wrote:
Someone tear his head off...
 
{#Whipit}

Great song off of a tremendous album!{#Cheers}
 helgigermany wrote:
Nice!
 
{#High-five} Yes!

Someone tear his head off...
Nice!
drtjdel wrote:

Success in the wife deparment...



Actually, batting .500 on that. You might want to check in with wife #1.
 
and wife number 2..... so he's hitting .333 - still pretty good for baseball :-)

 jbtidwell wrote:

I saw the one he did with Bill Clinton... I was very impressed.

 
He's an excellent interviewer (Elvis) and does his homework well.  The show, Spectacle is one of the best things going on cable.  He has had everyone from Clinton to Renee Fleming to Rufus Wainwright to Lou Reed.  Kinda like RP on TV.  Hey Bill...There's and idea huh?

 jagdriver wrote:
Diana Krall's hard work for Quiet Nights

It's charming to meet a star who's starstruck. She may have sold 14 million albums but an intimate evening to honour Stevie Wonder at the White House hosted by the First Couple was almost too much for Diana Krall.

And how were Barack and Michelle? "The two of them are tall, strong, together - a couple who love each other. And we started talking. And I say: ‘Elvis and I . . .' and Barack says: ‘Elvis, he died'. ‘No, I mean Elvis Costello, my husband.' And he says: ‘Really? You've been keeping this under wraps.' It was so funny . . . He had no idea we were married."


 
I've always thought they'd be the celebrity couple I'd most like to have come over to my house for dinner.

Diana Krall's hard work for Quiet Nights

It's charming to meet a star who's starstruck. She may have sold 14 million albums but an intimate evening to honour Stevie Wonder at the White House hosted by the First Couple was almost too much for Diana Krall.

And how were Barack and Michelle? "The two of them are tall, strong, together - a couple who love each other. And we started talking. And I say: ‘Elvis and I . . .' and Barack says: ‘Elvis, he died'. ‘No, I mean Elvis Costello, my husband.' And he says: ‘Really? You've been keeping this under wraps.' It was so funny . . . He had no idea we were married."


 WonderLizard wrote:
Elvis's new show on Sundance Channel, "Spectacle," debuts tomorrow night at 10 pm eastern. Features Elton John.

 
I saw the one he did with Bill Clinton... I was very impressed.

Elvis's new show on Sundance Channel, "Spectacle," debuts tomorrow night at 10 pm eastern. Features Elton John.

Elvis, man, you know I  love ya dude but I got to go "2" on you with this tune.
HI-LARIOUS!

 mwsteele79 wrote:

No accounting for taste, is there?  Doesn't make sense to me how someone like Elvis Costello could be so successful.  His voice is annoying, his lyrics are stupid (that's right I said stupid), and his overall style is uninspiring.  Just because some people like his music doesn't mean it's brilliant.  Let's see what the test of time does for him.
 


 mwsteele79 wrote:

No accounting for taste, is there?  Doesn't make sense to me how someone like Elvis Costello could be so successful.  His voice is annoying, his lyrics are stupid (that's right I said stupid), and his overall style is uninspiring.  Just because some people like his music doesn't mean it's brilliant.  Let's see what the test of time does for him.

 

Let's see..first record released in 1977. It's 2008. 31 years and we're still hearing good stuff from him. Are you talking Mozart-test-of-time or Rock-and-roll test-of-time? If it's the latter, I think he passes that test.
 mwsteele79 wrote:

No accounting for taste, is there?  Doesn't make sense to me how someone like Elvis Costello could be so successful.  His voice is annoying, his lyrics are stupid (that's right I said stupid), and his overall style is uninspiring.  Just because some people like his music doesn't mean it's brilliant.  Let's see what the test of time does for him.

 

Uh, hate to break the news, to you, hon, but in Elvis's case, the test of time has been taken and passed with flying colors — he's been around since 1977 or so.
I won't dispute the talent.  But why does EC annoy me so much?
Aw, WTF, I'll say it out loud ...

I prefer the Bangles' version.
 parrothead wrote:
Limited talent with much success...
 
No accounting for taste, is there?  Doesn't make sense to me how someone like Elvis Costello could be so successful.  His voice is annoying, his lyrics are stupid (that's right I said stupid), and his overall style is uninspiring.  Just because some people like his music doesn't mean it's brilliant.  Let's see what the test of time does for him.

 ch83575 wrote:
I woke up last night at like 4:00 am with this song stuck in my head... after trying unsuccessfully to tear off my head I returned to sleep. True story.
 

{#Lol}
wow, ratings all over the board.  as for me, i just think this song is good clean fun.  makes me want to bob my head.  {#Dancingbanana_2}
Marr wrote:
You know, I'm pretty OK with most of the folks who write here to just complain/bitch/whine about a particular song or artist. I may not agree, but I'm OK with it. What bothers me is when people ask/beg/tell/order Bill to stop playing a particular song/artist just because they don't like it. Even though it is usually obvious that that song/artist is popular with a sizeable portion of the listener audience here on RP, these folks seem to feel like their particular taste should dictate what Bill plays. This strikes me as a bit arrogant. To quote myself, "Go out and start your own station if you only want to hear the music you like". Oh, and if you don't vote.....
Ditto.
standing in line at the DMV would be less boring than this song.
I woke up last night at like 4:00 am with this song stuck in my head... after trying unsuccessfully to tear off my head I returned to sleep. True story.
parrothead wrote:
Limited talent with much success...
HA HA HA HA HA HA -- ignorance is bliss I guess
qosforever wrote:
this album is quite remarkable i'm not a fan of Elvis Costello, but i like this album
I'm a huge Elvis fan, and this is one of my least favorite albums.
The title says it all for me whenever I hear EC.
dmax wrote:
Actually, batting .500 on that. You might want to check in with wife #1.
And wife #2. Diana Krall is wife #3.
parrothead wrote:
Limited talent with much success...
Success in the wife deparment...
So much violence in one set......okay, okay, I'm going...... BTW.zero.
this album is quite remarkable i'm not a fan of Elvis Costello, but i like this album
passsion8 wrote:
Who are you to be the arbiter of posting decorum? Let her complain away. Elvis never evolved after his breakthough LP. What's 143 ratings, anyway? The one's that dislike him don't bother to vote. Get it off your chest, b'girl.
You know, I'm pretty OK with most of the folks who write here to just complain/bitch/whine about a particular song or artist. I may not agree, but I'm OK with it. What bothers me is when people ask/beg/tell/order Bill to stop playing a particular song/artist just because they don't like it. Even though it is usually obvious that that song/artist is popular with a sizeable portion of the listener audience here on RP, these folks seem to feel like their particular taste should dictate what Bill plays. This strikes me as a bit arrogant. To quote myself, "Go out and start your own station if you only want to hear the music you like". Oh, and if you don't vote.....
For those that do not like Elvis, Tear off your own head.
Limited talent with much success...
Elvis whups tha Llama's azz.
Marr wrote:
Dear imabubblygirl, If, after 143 ratings this EC song still has an average of 7, it must be that there are a significant number of us who actually like it. Instead of constantly complaining about EC being overplayed, why not just mute or ignore it until the next song comes on. That's what I do when songs come on that I am less than impressed by. I find it makes life far more pleasant. It also keeps it from appearing that I'm trying to tell everybody else what they should or should not listen to. I agree. Peace & Love
Jack_Jefferson wrote:
Before the Lasik surgery, I felt like like Elvis Costello was a good role model for misunderstood guys with dark hair and glasses. I still have yet to see him in concert and he's probably my favorite artist that I have yet to see live. From what I've seen on TV, he's a very interesting guy. I think he was a guest host on the Letterman show when Dave was either on vacation or had heart problems. Anyway, I give this song a 9.
I have seen him several time; excellent. He was recording recently (last couple of years) down in Mississippi & played a little club here in Memphis twice. SO sorry to have missed that!! Catch him if you get a chance.
How do you tear off your own head? OUCH! :headache:
Marr wrote:
Dear imabubblygirl, If, after 143 ratings this EC song still has an average of 7, it must be that there are a significant number of us who actually like it. Instead of constantly complaining about EC being overplayed, why not just mute or ignore it until the next song comes on. That's what I do when songs come on that I am less than impressed by. I find it makes life far more pleasant. It also keeps it from appearing that I'm trying to tell everybody else what they should or should not listen to.
Who are you to be the arbiter of posting decorum? Let her complain away. Elvis never evolved after his breakthough LP. What's 143 ratings, anyway? The one's that dislike him don't bother to vote. Get it off your chest, b'girl.
suddenchad wrote:
I don't know why some of you people even listen to Radio Paradise. Go buy some copies of "Now That's What I Call Music" or something if you want to hear pretty voices and slick arrangements. I listen to RP because I DON'T want to hear mainstream crap. Anything off beat, different, unusual, you run and cry. Yeesh.
So what, is there no middle ground now? Either good arrangements or offbeat? I don't see it that way. . .
This is Elvis's divorce album (like Bob's Blood on the Tracks), and it rocks--bitterly! Don't miss Tart, Alibi, and Another Episode of Blonde on this CD.
I don't know why some of you people even listen to Radio Paradise. Go buy some copies of "Now That's What I Call Music" or something if you want to hear pretty voices and slick arrangements. I listen to RP because I DON'T want to hear mainstream crap. Anything off beat, different, unusual, you run and cry. Yeesh.
Frequently what I feel like doing when I hear the dreaded EC! A 1 of course.
dmax wrote:
that rhythmic sound you hear is me banging my head against the desk in time with this tune.
Ouch! :headache:
Sucko-Barfo VERY appropriate For everything he has done in the last 15 years anyway.
More on RP please... :dancingbanana:
Love Elvis - more please. I'm assuming Elvis wrote this, but who recorderd it first - Elvis or the Bangles?
Just do it Elvis baby!! A 1 of course!
Before the Lasik surgery, I felt like like Elvis Costello was a good role model for misunderstood guys with dark hair and glasses. I still have yet to see him in concert and he's probably my favorite artist that I have yet to see live. From what I've seen on TV, he's a very interesting guy. I think he was a guest host on the Letterman show when Dave was either on vacation or had heart problems. Anyway, I give this song a 9.
Good segue; would have been better if you had played an Elvis C.--Paul Mac. collaboration.
Jacques wrote:
Point # 1: ... I thought Elvis Costello was "god" back in 1977 when I was 15... and bought them all, even "the Juliet Letters" which was a pretty decent, if eclectic piece of experimentation. quote> I thought I was the only one who liked "The Juliet Letters"...good to know I'm not alone.
imabubblygirl wrote:
This guy is so overplayed! His voice is supremely annoying. Please, I beg of you, STOP playing this second-rate hack.
Actually I was just thinking how this sounds like the old Costello from circa 1978 or thereabouts. I wore out "This Year's Model" on vinyl and still think it's a brilliant album; this song captures those flashes. Annoying? Bah!
RichardPrins wrote:
8)
What he said.
radiojunkie wrote:
Bill, you're KILLING me. Shatner, Beck, Beatles, Costello, superb cuts all. My groovemeter is going off the scale!
:lol:
Bill, you're KILLING me. Shatner, Beck, Beatles, Costello, superb cuts all. My groovemeter is going off the scale!
imabubblygirl wrote:
This guy is so overplayed! His voice is supremely annoying. Please, I beg of you, STOP playing this second-rate hack.
Dear imabubblygirl, If, after 143 ratings this EC song still has an average of 7, it must be that there are a significant number of us who actually like it. Instead of constantly complaining about EC being overplayed, why not just mute or ignore it until the next song comes on. That's what I do when songs come on that I am less than impressed by. I find it makes life far more pleasant. It also keeps it from appearing that I'm trying to tell everybody else what they should or should not listen to. And as an aside, a quick scan of your high ranked songs finds at least a few artists about whose voices others have expressed equally vitriolic complaints. Among these are Tom Petty, Danny Elfman, and Mark Knopfler. I'm sure there are others. To each their own, bubbly.
This guy is so overplayed! His voice is supremely annoying. Please, I beg of you, STOP playing this second-rate hack.
8)
Jacques wrote:
Point # 1: I am probably one of the biggest Elvis Costello fans I know,
Jacques, thanks for reminding me about the joy of ignorance. I wish I could set through a movie without dissecting the Foley work, but on this subject, I'm dumb as dirt and free to love it. I love it! Thanks for your insight, very thoughtful.