Lying

Album: Cruel Inventions (1991)
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Songfacts®:

  • In this song, Sam Phillips tries to tell her lover how she feels in a roundabout way: "If I said I could leave you now and go where I could forget, I'd be lying." In our interview with Phillips, she talked about the nuts and bolts of the song: "There were some philosophies going around and some self help that I didn't agree with, so I put that in a song. It was a hodgepodge of that, but more of what the Tin Pan Alley writers call the classic laundry list song: you put a lot of different things in a list. That was an unusual way to say it: 'I'd be lying if I said this, this, this, this, this, and this.' So I guess that would be the craft part of it, the 'behind the machine' part of it."

    Tin Pan Alley refers to the influential music publishers and songwriters based in large cities - usually New York - in the mid-19th to 20th centuries.
  • Elvis Costello was a guest performer - as guitarist - on the Cruel Inventions album.
  • Phillips re-recorded this song for her digitally released Long Play series. She told the Pop Matters website: "I was never really happy with my performance of it on Cruel Inventions, I thought my vocal was too strident. I wanted a softer approach, vocally, so I thought a stripped down version would be interesting, and I was really happy with how it turned out."

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