"I Want You" as written by and Elvis Costello....
Oh my baby, baby
I love you more than I can tell
I don't think I can live without you
And I know that I never will
Oh my baby, baby
I want you so it scares me to death
I can't say anymore than "I love you"
Everything else is a waste of breath
I want you
You've had your fun, you don't get well no more
I want you
Your fingernails go dragging down the wall
Be careful darling, you might fall
I want you
I woke up and one of us was crying
I want you
You said "young man I do believe you're dying"
I want you
If you need a second opinion as you seem to do these days
I want you
You can look in my eyes and you can count the ways
I want you
Did you mean to tell me but seem to forget?
I want you
Since when were you so generous and inarticulate?
I want you
It's the stupid details that my heart is breaking for
It's the way your shoulders shake and what they're shaking for
I want you
It's knowing that he knows you now after only guessing
It's the thought of him undressing you or you undressing
I want you
He tossed some tattered compliment your way
I want you
And you were fool enough to love it when he said
"I want you"
I want you
The truth can't hurt you, it's just like the dark
It scares you witless
But in time you see things clear and stark
I want you
Go on and hurt me then we'll let it drop
I want you
I'm afraid I won't know where to stop
I want you
I'm not ashamed to say I cried for you
I want you
I want to know the things you did that we do too
I want you
I want to hear he pleases you more than I do
I want you
I might as well be useless for all it means to you
I want you
Did you call his name out as he held you down?
I want you
Oh no my darling, not with that clown
I want you
I want you
You've had your fun, you don't get well no more
I want you
No one who wants you could want you more
I want you
I want you
I want you
Every night when I go off to bed and when I wake up
I want you
I'm going to say it again 'til I instill it
I know I'm going to feel this way until you kill it
I want you
I want you
I want you


Lyrics submitted by dev0n

"I Want You" as written by Elvis Costello

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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I Want You song meanings
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34 Comments

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  • +5
    General CommentIf you've ever been cheated on by someone that you care about, this song will hit you like a freight train. Before looking up any of the facts, I knew Costello must have been cheated on by someone he cared about immensely. You can't write a song like this without experiencing it.

    It's just so real. So accurate. Everything is going great, like at the beginning of the song and then the truth comes out and you're left wondering "Wow, did you just forget to mention it?"

    Then, although your logical side tells you to not hurt yourself with the details, some other part of you wants nothing more than to hear each and every horrible detail. You want to know if she liked it. You want to know if he did the things you do to her.

    Then there's this overpowering feeling of wanting her. Of wanting to be with her......to reclaim what is yours? It's a strange and mixed emotion that is hard to explain, like so many other human emotions.

    And forgiving her.....the hardest thing you'll ever do. Because you will never entirely forgive her. No matter how much time passes and how faded the memory becomes, every once in a while it will creep back up like a disease and hurt you all over again.

    From time to time a musician takes complicated emotions and encapsulates them in their entirety into a song. Costello took the fear, jealousy, hatred, depression, helplessness, sadness, and anger of being cheated on and did exactly that with this song.
    Ratman_84on November 30, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentObsession. Awesome. But in all honesty I don't want to ever feel this way, its heartbreaking to listen to. You just want to shake him up and tell him there are more fish in the sea.
    Silver195on December 06, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General CommentIt was such a pleasure reading these comments. I am 40 now and when I was 17 I had a very serious boyfriend who played me this song and wrote out the lyrics for me as a love letter. That was 1986 when the song came out. I never completely understood if his love for me was so beautiful, deep and enduring that it became an obsession, or if it actually had an unhealthy obsessive element. Is there a difference? Loving someone deeply and romantically becomes an obsession in our hearts and minds. When we love as deeply as the song describes we want to possess the person, even consume them. Now, all these years later, and we didn't end up together, i listen to the song and think of the love we experienced for each other, and how lucky i was to receive it. Thank you for these comments - they broaden my understanding even more.
    freedbymusicon January 26, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentWell, Elvis is a master song writer. He's writing a song about what he's felt and what the rest of us are feeling now. That sick feeling where we know what's best for someone else. But the truth is something terrible to us. They've never needed us. The next step for us is to learn music and write for ourselves.
    Pro777on August 27, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe live version is the definitive version. I saw him when he toured with the Imposters, and holy crap. So passionate. Like he was making love to his song onstage. It left me breathless, literally; I felt like I should've been smoking a cigarette after that or something :) It's such a creepy song, but the intensity makes it sexy, which in turn makes it creepier.
    chaordicon April 08, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt was a splendid performance by Fiona. She seemed so taken by the power of the song that she almost looked a bit afraid. Like: "Will I survive this?" She did survive it and did it very well. The only time I thought "Oooh no, too bad" was the part when the Me of the song imitates the new lover saying I want you,
    "and you were fool enough to love it when he said: "Iiii waaaant yooouu"".
    It´s so great how EC makes it seem like the most stupid, untalented thing to say, ever, when it comes from the lips of this clown, but then he says it himself like a hunded times in the song. I don´t think Fiona seemed to understand that part of it being a quote, and therefor she didn´t have that mocking, sarcastic tone in her voice as she sang that line.

    I agree with those of you who hear a betrayed man in the song. I don´t know anything about the details of EC´s lovelife, and I don´t care. This song is bigger than that.
    I think you could apply the term cuckold to the Me of the song, cause eventhough he is being cheated on, and suffering from this, he also likes parts of it, wanting to know the most painful details, wanting to hear that her new lover is actually better in bed than he is.
    Oh, I could go on and on forever about this song, but I´ll leave it at that.
    andolaon June 07, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYes, I do understand what this song is about, but I also have to agree, that despite it's dark, violent nature, that this is an insanely sexy song. "Did you call his name out as he held you down?" God help me!
    Ah, but that's what makes EC a master.
    lunaburningon October 29, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song purely means he is still madly in love with this women who has cheated on him, and he cant stand to think about her with another man.
    ania1234on February 13, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAnd everybody is writing these clever comments, so I'm not even gonna try. Just wanted to say I love it a lot, both EC's and Fiona's version. The lyrics are beautiful, in a creepy way, kind of. But you understand him, right, so... Well, I was not going to try writing like a smart person.
    kill_us_allon September 08, 2008   Link
  • +1
    MemoryGoing through this right now. The mind's mixture of love, obsession, and possessiveness for the one who betrayed, hurt and emotionally (and feels like physically) dragged me through hell and back, causing me to slump into a bitter dark place, where I can only assume Elvis was when he wrote this.

    This song hits it's mark right in the centre of the heart, you can't help but stop and hang on every brilliant, honest and raw word.

    "He tossed some tattered compliment your way, And you were fool enough to love it When he said "I want you"" - Constantly asking yourself what he possibly could have said that she could not refuse or say 'no' to.

    "I want to know the things you did that we do too. I want to hear he pleases you more than I do." - Hearing that they did the things were 'special' to us kills me the most. And I for some reason am addicted to feeling the pain, asking the questions, not stopping and needing to find out more after the first confirmation there was something going on. A painful and dangerous addiction.

    "Did you call his name out as he held you down? Oh no, my darling, not with that clown..." - Constant images of this every day, especially as I go to bed. The mental image makes my physically ill.


    stewiebgoodeon January 10, 2009   Link

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