"Big Tears" as written by and Elvis Costello....
Everyone is busy with the regular routine
The sniper just takes his aim
Everyone is window shopping, no one is amazed
Even if he hit you, you'd still think it's just a graze
You go to a movie, you go to a show
You think that you're loving, you don't really know

Big tears mean nothing
You can count them as they fall
Big tears mean nothing
When you're lying in your coffin
Tell me who's been taken in

Oh you talk about the new boss automatic clause
But of course they make it all up for you
Always fascinated by the weird edge of town
Come home disappointed every time they put you down
Laughing with the old boys, saying that it's all noise

I suppose, big tears mean nothing
You can count them as they fall
Big tears mean nothing
When you're lying in your coffin
Tell me who's been taken in

All the buttons of my overcoat
They have fallen off one by one
You wouldn't even like me if you'd never had a drink
You wouldn't even like me if you never stopped to think
Standing in the shadow, turning wives to widows

Don't you know, big tears mean nothing
You can count them as they fall
Big tears mean nothing
When you're lying in your coffin
Tell me who's been taken in
Tell me, who's been taken in
Tell me, who, me or yous been taken in
Tell me, tell me, tell me


Lyrics submitted by Mopnugget

"Big Tears" as written by Elvis Costello

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Big Tears song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentI Love this song, Elvis taking the side of the asassin in a public tragedy. I recall reading that Mick Jones was invited to play on this song after the Clash and the Attractions shared the bill on a package tour, with a general sentiment of one-upsmanship between the bands. The idea of an excellent performance being a "killer" lends to the theme of Big Tears.

    I also heard the line in the chorus as "When you're lying and you're coughing" meaning that the intended listener is telling falsehoods, and giving away their insincerety with a nervous tic.
    kipmaton September 19, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI didn't get it until now, but the "who's been taken in" seems to refer to someone being taken in for questioning or arrested, suspected of the shooting alluded to in the first verse. As usual, Elvis is drawing a connection between common violence in the media and emotional abuse. Here he's asking who is responsible for the abuse.

    About the "lying and you're coughing" versus "lying in your coffin" debate, it sounds to me like the first chorus is the former and the other two are the latter. A clever lyrical twist, meaning that the subject is lying to him and then should be worried about his retribution.
    anamenottakenon January 10, 2014   Link

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