Song of the Day #3,771: ‘Suspect My Tears’ – Elvis Costello

‘Suspect My Tears,’ the tenth track on Elvis Costello’s Look Now, is truly a wild ride. Ignore the lyrics and it sounds like a full-blown schmaltzy 70s love song. He wrote this one alone, but it could easily pass for one of his earlier Burt Bacharach collaborations.

Read the lyrics, though, and you’ll realize this is a bitter attack by a man who has grown tired of his lover’s crocodile tears and is threatening to shed some of his own. It’s the nastiest song on the album.

‘Suspect My Tears’ sounds like the closest Costello will ever come to Yacht Rock (and he once recorded a song with Daryl Hall). And I mean that as a compliment. It’s lush and showy in a way that has to be at least a little ironic.

One thing that trips me up in this song is the melody of the line “where and when you need it,” which sounds to me like the “I’m so glad I’ve stayed” part of Kenny Rogers’ ‘Through the Years.’ I always want Elvis to jump into that song’s chorus, which — let’s face it — would be amazing.

Do you remember how to say “Please”?
You’ve had your own way for such a long time
Your lashes sweep down, I dry your cheek
You think I’m powerless when you speak
You may have something,
I don’t deny
You look so beautiful
when you cry
If I seem unconcerned
Perhaps it’s time you learned

I’ll cry until you suspect my tears
I’ll cry until you suspect my tears
You’re not the only one who can
turn it on
Where and when you need it

Do you remember how bad it felt?
Big eyes would fill up
Your lip would tremble
You want to hurt me but then
you melt
You always promise to lose control
I learned a trick that you used to play
I’m tired of you having it your own way
With the power to persuade
Beginning to cascade

I’ll cry until you suspect my tears
I’ll cry until you suspect my tears
You’re not the only one who can
turn it on
Where and when you need it

If you hear me weeping
I may be cheating or just laughing inside
If you’re suspicious that I’m sly and vicious
Here’s your chance to decide
Two hypocrites collide

I’ll cry until you suspect my tears
I’ll cry until you suspect my tears
You’re not the only one who can
turn it on
Where and when you need it
When you need it

I’ll cry until you suspect my tears
I’ll cry until you suspect my tears
You’re not the only one who can
turn it on
Where and when you need it
When you need it

I’ll cry until you suspect my tears
I’ll cry until you suspect my tears
I’ll cry until you suspect my tears
I’ll cry until you suspect my tears

One thought on “Song of the Day #3,771: ‘Suspect My Tears’ – Elvis Costello

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I hadn’t picked up on the sarcasm in these lyrics. I agree that, musically, this is straight up 70’s in the style of Bacharach, but the lyrics do give a nice twist.

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