"Goon Squad" as written by and Elvis Costello....
Mother, Father, I'm here in the zoo
I can't come home 'cause I've grown up too soon
I got my sentence
I got my command
They said they'd make me major if I met all their demands

I could be a corp'ral into corp'ral punishment
Or the gen'ral manager of a large establishment
They pat some good boys on the back and put some to the rod
But I never thought they'd put me in the

Goon squad
They've come to look you over and they're giving you the eye
Goon squad
They want you to come out to play
You'd better say goodbye

Some grow just like their dads
And some grow up too tall
Some go drinking with the lads
Some are no fun at all

And you must find the proper place
For everything you see
But you'll never get to make a lampshade out of me

I could join a chain of males or be the missing link
Looking for a lucky girl to put me in the pink
They pat some good boys on the back and put some to the rod
But I never thought they'd put me in the

Good squad...

Mother, Father, I'm doing so well
I'm making such progress now that you can hardly tell
I fit in a little dedication
With one eye on the clock
They caught you under medication
You could be in for a shock

Thinking up the alibis that ev'ryone's forgotten
Just another mummy's boy gone to rotten
They pat some good boys on the back and put some to the rod
But I never thought they'd put me in the

Goon squad...


Lyrics submitted by Mopnugget

"Goon Squad" as written by Elvis Costello

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Goon Squad song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentAbout being in the army?
    happytreefriend89on April 15, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentUh, no; sorry. It's about being in the "real world."
    razajacon October 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell, no. Yes, real world, but the theme of this is more toward the original title of Armed Forces - "Emotional Facism." The comment about "But you'll never get to make a lampshade out of me" is right out of Sylvia Plath (poet). Elvis is commenting about the Communist/Facist way in which kids betray their parents (who are taken away). Of course, the kids that are programmed, "rat" on their parents and are taken away "You could be in for a shock" follows this theme. Re-read the lyrics in this context---Green Shirt is the same theme, basically. Elvis is a master.
    Motown1on June 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love the delayed backing vocal on the words "goon squad", the ominous music at that moment...a little overblown, deliberately so. there's a lot of humor in this song, although in another way it's not a bit funny.

    is it an urban myth that the Nazis made lampshades out of human skin, or did it really happen?
    foreverdroneon June 17, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it could be literally about a soldier or about military life/service as a metphor for the adult world. Our Hero sees military life and/or adulthood as a routine of following orders, getting drunk with the lads, and finding a lady who will accept his Powerful Pink Passion Pistol
    CuteSparkinaon July 26, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about Elvis deciding to be a musician instead of jumping into the "real world" and realizing that he feels like an outcast among the group of popular musicians just the same, in the goon squad.
    BeanBrainson August 31, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn the military the goon squad were tasked with cleaning up the mine field before sending in the combat soldiers. The goon squad was usually made up from soldiers with less intellectual endowment than the rest, hence they were expendable.

    So we find the narrator telling his parents, possibly writing an archetypal letter from his military life, about the illustruous career he could have made, but that in fact his command is more like a sentence to death. He could have been a major, or a corporal or a general manager (had he gone into corporate life), instead he grew up "too soon" to find out, that rather than have a great career, or being patted on the back as some are, or even rather than being punished by the rod, his punishment is much worse, he's been put in the goon squad. So when they've looked him over and given him the eye, he's been selected for the goon squad, which once they're called into action, leads to an almost certain death.

    Gadgetyon December 25, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think there is a strong undertone of a dog at the music business.
    "They said they'd make me major if I met all their demands", could be a reference to an elevation of status from independent artist to "Major" .

    "They've come to look you over and they're giving you the eye
    Goon squad
    They want you to come out to play
    You'd better say goodbye"
    I think this is a reference to being scouted by an A&R guy and the lamp shade reference is the contempt that record companies held for their artists would allow them to mold the artist into what they think he/she should be.

    "They pat some good boys on the back and put some to the rod
    But I never thought they'd put me in the

    Goon squad..."

    I think given Elvis's unchangeable individuality, there was no way he thought he would be offered a place in the mainstream recording world along side the likes of pop stars, the "Goon Squad"

    All the other clever word play before the choruses are for the sake of highlighting the extremity of what he could have, (more likely), done rather than being in the "Goon squad"
    rob1015378on December 30, 2015   Link

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