Beyond Belief

Album: Imperial Bedroom (1982)

Songfacts®:

  • This song is loaded with clever wordplay:

    Keep your finger on important issues
    With crocodile tears and a pocketful of tissues

    My hands were clammy and cunning
    She's been suitably stunning


    But what does it mean? Elvis explained in Rolling Stone: "This is a ranting kind of song. I was consciously writing words that didn't make sense - to make a blurred picture, because I was living a blurred life."
  • The line "Do you have to be so cruel to be callous" is likely a play on the song title "Cruel To Be Kind" by Costello's cohort Nick Lowe, who produced most of Elvis' early work.
  • For the Imperial Bedroom album Costello wanted to get away from his intimate sound and go for something more expansive, which band's like U2 were doing. Knowing that his longtime producer Nick Lowe (nicknamed "basher" because he liked to bash it out in the studio) would quickly grow frustrated with extended sessions, Geoff Emerick, famous for his work as an engineer with The Beatles, was brought in to produce.

    This track in particular provided the big sound Costello was looking for; he credits his drummer Pete Thomas for giving the song the needed energy.
  • The original title of this song was "The Land Of Give And Take."

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Graham Parker

Graham ParkerSongwriter Interviews

When Judd Apatow needed under-appreciated rockers for his Knocked Up sequel, he immediately thought of Parker, who just happened to be getting his band The Rumour back together.

Director Nick Morris ("The Final Countdown")

Director Nick Morris ("The Final Countdown")Song Writing

Nick made some of the biggest videos on MTV, including "The Final Countdown," "Heaven" and "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)."

Kristian Bush of Sugarland

Kristian Bush of SugarlandSongwriter Interviews

Kristian talks songwriting technique, like how the chorus should redefine the story, and how to write a song backwards.

Petula Clark

Petula ClarkSongwriter Interviews

Petula talks about her hits "Downtown" and "Don't Sleep In The Subway," and explains her Michael Jackson connection.

Song Cities

Song CitiesMusic Quiz

Nirvana, Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen are among those who wrote songs with cities that show up in this quiz.

Michael Franti

Michael FrantiSongwriter Interviews

Franti tells the story behind his hit "Say Hey (I Love You)" and explains why yoga is an integral part of his lifestyle and his Soulshine tour.