New Lace Sleeves

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  • In this song, Costello tells an opaque tale about a socialite who has a tryst with a man of more modest means. The lace sleeves indicate her status, and that she is used to keeping up appearances.

    Costello started writing the song in 1974; the original title was "From Kansas to Berlin," and Elvis says it was a "big, grand song about postwar life." He explained in Rolling Stone: "The carnal comedy in there, all the embarrassment of the morning after - I didn't know that stuff so well then. I knew it pretty well by the time of this song."
  • Costello says that a theme in this song is "class and control." He explained in the same Rolling Stone piece: "People used to say Margaret Thatcher held her Cabinet with some sort of sexual magnetism. Power is seductive."
  • This is one of Costello's favorites, and he cites it as an example of a song with a slower tempo that suits the theme. He and his band, The Attractions, had been working hard and were exhausted by the time they recorded the song, which gave them the right energy level for the track.
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Comments: 1

  • Chuck from UsaLove the alliteration and double meaning in the lines:
    The salty lips of the socialite sisters
    with their continental fingers that have
    never seen working blisters
    Oh, I know they've got their problems
    I wish I was one of them.....

    One of them? A socialite sister or one of their problems? Maybe both?

    He goes on to say:
    When are they gonna learn their lesson?
    When are they gonna stop all of these victory processions?

    Probably never.
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