Pills and Soap – Elvis Costello

There is so much in this song.

How the media is full of hypocritical reactions to every tragedy – like the Falklands war. The allusion to the Holocaust and the melting down of Jewish bodies to make soap. The way people are driven to hard drugs and suicide. The celebrity Press that distracts us from real issues and feeds us with pictures of the royals. The wealthy establishment that is still raking it in while the rest of us have austerity. The way we are used like beasts of burden.

Elvis is a master of poetic images.

Pills and Soap – Elvis Costello

They talk to the sister the father and the mother
With a microphone in one hand and a checkbook in the other
And the camera noses in on the tears on her face
The tears on her face
The tears on her face
You can put them back together with your paper and paste
But you can’t put them back together
You can’t put them back together

What would you say, what would you do?
Children and animals, two by two
Give me the needle give me the rope
We’re gonna melt them down to pills and soap

Four and twenty crowbars jammy your desire
Out of the frying pan, into the fire
The king is in the counting house, some folk have all the luck
And all we get is pictures of Lord and Lady Muck
They come from lovely people, with their hardline and hypocrisy
There are ashtrays of emotion for the fag ends of the aristocracy

What would you say, What would you do
Children and animals, two by two
Give me the needle give me the rope
We’re gonna melt them down for pills and soap.

Give me the needle
Give me the rope

The sugar-coated pill is getting bitterer still
You think your country needs you, but you know it never will
So pack up yer troubles in a stolen handbag
Don’t dilly dally boys, rally round the flag
Give us our daily bread in individual slices
And something in the daily rag to cancel any crisis

What would you say, what would you do?
Children and animals, two by two
Give me the needle give me the rope
We’re gonna melt them down for pills and soap

Give me the needle
Give me the rope
We are going
To melt them down
For
Pills
And
Soap

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