"Chemistry Class" as written by and Elvis Costello....
She throws back her hair [hands] and she shows you her mouth
The breath that I waste trying to ruin your life
Beauty's on a budget but you take it on the chin
'Cause you have to do your duty taking orders from the kingpin

You've got a chemistry class I want a piece of your mind
You don't know what you started when you mixed it up with mine
Are you ready for the final solution? Oh. Oh.

[They] chopped you up in butcher's school
Threw you out of the academy of garbage
You'll be a joker all your life
A student at the comedy college
People pleasing people pleasing people like you
You've been around so long but you still don't know what to do


Sparks are flying from electrical pylons
Snakes and ladders running up and down her nylons
Ready to experiment, you're ready to be burned
If it wasn't for some accidents then some would never ever learn


Lyrics submitted by Mopnugget

"Chemistry Class[Live at the Warner Theater, Washington, DC 1978]" as written by Elvis Costello

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Chemistry Class song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI think he's trying to deal with being attracted to someone who, in painfully obvious ways, is different from yourself. He goes further and likens the process of accepting love from "unworthies" to the bargain we enter into when incarnating: It seems like an unlikely proposition that we would accept life on Earth with the death, destruction, disappointment, grief as a "learning experience"--a "chemistry class," but we do--which itself has to say something.
    razajacon September 27, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe "you" and "I" are the same - Elvis talking about some guy in first and third person. Taking orders from the kingpin - duh, talking about the male organ. Guy is a joker who tries to please people by goofing around, and fantasizes about the girl. Disappointed though - I thought it was "Beauty's not a virgin but you take it on the chin."
    tommyg831on May 06, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General CommentShe's controlled by society and it's views on beauty; maybe she is intelligent but she acts shallow and vapid to "please people" like herself. She has been rejected and scorned by different groups because of this, but she still can't figure it out. He has been led on by her, and is frustrated with her teasing and wants to provoke her enough to break out of her mold. I think he's trying to say that you don't have to sacrifice intelligence for beauty or acceptance.
    likethecanalson December 05, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me, this song seems to be about an unwanted pregnancy:

    "You've got a chemistry class I want a piece of your mind
    You don't know what you started when you mixed it up with mine"
    Mixing your chemistry together and having a child

    "Are you ready for the final solution" = abortion
    eyehopon August 10, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe phrase 'Final Solution' has exclusively Nazi connotations. Make of that what you will. I'm not sure I know what to make of it, except that given EC's predilection for imagery that toys with fascism (e.g. the song that follows it is 'Two Little Hitlers'), it might just be a rhetorical device.
    as2191on January 24, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this is the age-old story of a sexual attraction to someone that you despise. Love-hate, but you can't have her as she is controlled by the "king-pin" (some other powerful man). The last stanza is the attraction part, even though you would like t put her in her place as she is irritating. Mixing two differing personalities (intelligent and spacious) but....the attraction can't be ignored. Great lyric.
    Motown1on June 08, 2006   Link

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