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Watching The Detectives Lyrics

Artist: Elvis Costello
Album: My Aim Is True

Nice girls, not one with a defect
Cellophane shrink-wrapped, so correct
Red dogs under illegal legs
She looks so good that he gets down and begs

(CHORUS) She is watching the detectives
"Ooh, he's so cute"
She is watching the detectives
When they shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot
They beat him up until the teardrops start
But he can't be wounded 'cause he's got no heart

Long shot at that jumping sign
Invisible shivers running down my spine
Cut to baby taking off her clothes
Close-up of the sign that says "We never close"
He snatches at you and you match his cigarette
She pulls the eyes out with a face like a magnet
I don't know how much more of this I can take
She's filing her nails while they're dragging the lake

(REPEAT CHORUS)

You think you're alone until you realize you're in it
Now fear is here to stay, love is here for a visit
They call it instant justice when it's past the legal limit
Someone's scratching at the window, I wonder who is it?
The detectives come to check if you belong to the parents
Who are ready to hear the worst about their daughter's disappearance
Though it nearly took a miracle to get you to stay
It only took my little fingers to blow you away

Just like watching the detectives
Don't get cute
It's just like watching the detectives
I get so angry when the teardrops start
But he can't be wounded 'cause he's got no heart

Watching the detectives
It's just like watching the detectives
Watching the detectives
Watching the detectives
(REPEAT AND FADE)
Comments/Interpretations
by Alan on 11/20/2008 9:56pm
She looks so good he gets down and begs... Says it all, really.
by john on 12/13/2008 12:39am
i like cake
by Bendo on 1/27/2009 7:30pm
So do eye!
by Mark on 1/29/2009 8:15am
PIE!!!
by Paul on 3/3/2009 10:02pm
I like Turtles!!!!!!!!
by john on 3/21/2009 7:25pm
I like pie too, or is it pi I like? 3.14....
by willow on 3/30/2009 3:02pm
what the hell? i never heard this song b4
by Aisley on 4/8/2009 8:53pm
I just found out that it is an Elvis Costello's song. I just knew it from the PBS show History Detectives.
by Leon on 5/31/2009 10:28pm
"Watching The Detectives" is from Costello's 1977 debut album, "My Aim is True". It's a great track by one of pop music's most gifted tunesmiths. Listen and learn!
by larry on 7/1/2009 7:37pm
One of the best! The music is so weird and distorted - listen to the drums.
by Michelle on 8/18/2009 7:48pm
What is the song about/from???
by Eric on 8/23/2009 11:51pm
This is one of the best songs on one of the best albums of all time.
by sf.dawg on 9/2/2009 9:33pm
"It only took my little finger to blow you away" One of the greatest Rock and Roll lines since. "put in yer earplugs, put on yer eyeshades, you know where to put the cork."
by Willow on 10/5/2009 7:43pm
All hail to Elvis Costello!!! He IS a God...but WHO is using my name???
I am the only 'Willow' in the United States! What gives?!
by angela on 10/16/2009 4:01am
I think the song is about a serial killer watching a girl through her window as she watches a detective film. After watching her for a while he cant control himself any longer, he abducts and kills her but then detectives catch and interview him.
by farkenel on 10/22/2009 9:24am
Sorry guys. It's about a girl who just watches tv...
by BIG T on 11/28/2009 7:28pm
he snatches a tune and you match a cigarette
by qlo on 1/5/2010 8:04am
Most people marry their 7th -12th grade love. Since you read this, you will be told good news to night. If you don't post to five status, your worst week will start here
by mike on 1/27/2010 12:14pm
I don't know how much more of this I can take.
She's filing her nails while they're dragging the lake.
My fav. piece!
by dphowle on 3/6/2010 1:58pm
She pulls the eyes out with a face like a magnet..Sounds like an abducted girl with no hope of survival...Elvis Costello best song
by rossman on 4/5/2010 6:48pm
i loved this song when i first heard it in high school, now that we have the internet to see all the words my original thoughts are confirmed,,, ths words are weird ,,, in a fashionable way,,, just like elvis himself,,, a true genious,, thanks for explaining what the song is about angela
by Adam on 5/14/2010 12:23pm
Angela is totally wrong about the song. It's more a play about beautiful women and their pull on men. The first verse is basic imagery on a beautiful woman. "Cellophane shrink wrap" is a tight dress...."Red dogs under illegal legs" is talking about sexy legs in red shoes. The "detectives" are all the men who are trying to be cool but are totally checking out the women.
by Bo on 8/29/2010 1:32am
"She pulls the eyes out with a face like a magnet..Sounds like an abducted girl with no hope of survival"

No, it's just saying that men's eyes are metaphorically on stalks while she's around, because she's so attractive.
by Carolyn on 9/12/2010 2:28pm
I don't understand the line, "They beat him up until the teardrops start, but he can't be wounded cause he's got no heart." Any thoughts? I get the no heart part but not the beating up part.What about the line about the parents who are ready to hear the worst about their daughter's disappearance?
by YoYo on 10/20/2010 9:55pm
Come on guys - it's about a femme fatale that's a serial killer.
by dog on 2/5/2011 1:51pm
Its about a voyeor watching guys pick up hookers.
by Rudydog on 2/6/2011 6:13pm
Guys its allegorical,he is writing about the power women have over men using a "noir" or "pulp" style,where men were tough private eyes,but still fell for the ruthless dame despite knowing better
by z-lo on 2/16/2011 5:32pm
"she's filing her nails while they're dragging the lake" can only be done by a cold-hearted woman, and yeah she's probably a femme fatale
by jackster on 5/12/2011 10:26am
ENOUGH !!!
DIG THE REAGAE RIFFS MANN !!!
by alex on 6/21/2011 5:57am
evey one has differnt idea's on what this song is about truefuly no one is wrong. me i think that this song is about a women who is an fbi agent who is working with three other detectives who are guys they all fall for her but she truely only realy likes one and he gets taken hostged she try's to help him but he ends up geting beatenn up and he dose'nt have the heart to fight back becase he knows he is not have the stragth
too so he gets beaten up till back up comes and takes the bad guys in to costady and they tell them were the body of the daughter of the rich parents is after they find her body thry go and tell the mom and dad.
by bskinny on 7/6/2011 4:50pm
Alex, what drug are you on?
by lilbitbord on 7/7/2011 3:20pm
I also agree with the femme fatale "theory". When I first heard this song my mind instantly thought of that.
by Jimbobobjr on 7/26/2011 4:22pm
Ever hear the Duran Duran cover of this song? Very cool.
by Pliny on 8/12/2011 10:38am
I'd have sworn...that at the end chourus, one of the lines is "Watching the DEFECTIVES"

by For no reason on 8/13/2011 3:04pm
On a whim, I played this song backwards, and you'll never believe what I heard. A bunch of garbled noises and uninteliglbe words. No doubt this song is REALLY about "gjodifpif fosijak pikng". Scary stuff, man.
by phil on 9/1/2011 6:08pm
correction: Alex, what drugS are you one?
by Tom on 10/6/2011 1:57pm
"My Aim Is True" was written & recorded in a hotel in only two weeks and is,in my oppinion, the best album he ever made. I remember at the time it came out it was and is considered by most people I knew, and still know, to be the father of the "punk" music if you will.
by Mark on 11/18/2011 2:42pm
Regardless of what the song is about... it has the best bassline eva!
by GB on 3/29/2012 3:17am
Cool song...on the drive to HS burning one.
by Andrew HD on 4/12/2012 9:28pm
I think it's about a girl who kills guys to watch the police work on the crime and sits there watching them. Guys keep falling for her because she's so attractive and then she kills them, gets interviewed but the cops, all the while she just gets off on it.
by Solrac on 4/27/2012 12:07pm
Angela is right, in a way. It's about a missing girl, probably who is a prostitute. But the song is called "WATCHING The Detectives", which is a song about watching a detective movie. Read the words and you'll understand - "Long shot at that jumping sign", "Close-up of the sign that says 'We never close'".
by Brina on 5/12/2012 7:02am
It's about a guy trying to get it on with his girl, but she'd rather watch TV. He's going crazy because she's so beautiful and he wants her, and she's more interested in watching a detective show.
by stevecapri on 7/27/2012 5:43pm
Great to see elvis perform this fused with the police's walking on the moon? on "spectacle"
by greg on 7/30/2012 12:25pm
Brina is spot on. The guy's girl is more interested in the cop show. A clever ditty about sexual frustration.
by Billie2 on 8/15/2012 12:11pm
She's watching Alex O'laughlin on the new Hawaii 5-O. Oooh he's sooo cute! LOL!
by marka on 11/4/2012 3:12am
What do Detectives do? Why, they check you out!
by Detective on 2/9/2013 6:26pm
See my Cara Quinn murder investigation
by Jamacia on 3/17/2013 8:19pm
Daaaaaaaaaayyyyyuuuuuuuummmmmm
by think 2 deep on 5/4/2013 11:48am
Many years ago, people used to call detectives dicks. Reread the lyrics and let your own mind put the pieces together...
by TC on 5/15/2013 1:16pm
Wrong, Mark, best baseline ever is David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust!
by Red Docs on 5/22/2013 6:35pm
CORRECTION: Red Docs under illegal legs (as in Doc Martin shoes).
by maria on 12/10/2013 8:10am
I was told he wrote this song about his wife ...makes enough since
by no point in a name on 12/20/2013 10:07pm
If you want to understand what the song is about, check out some classic film noir (e.g. The Big Sleep, The Maltese Falcon); then you'll get it.
by Art on 8/12/2014 2:58pm
VISIBLE shivers running down my spine
Cut to baby taking off her clothes
Close-up of the sign that says "We never close"
He SNAPS at you and you match his cigarette
She pulls THEIR eyes out with a face like a magnet

Now fear is here to stay, love WAS here for a visit


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