You won`t take my love for tender
You can put your money where your mouth is
But you`re so unsure
I could be a miser or a big spender
But you might get much more than you bargained for

Check in on a checkmate
Grassing on a classmate
So beautiful and fortunate
You`re the one who hates to love
But he`s the one who loves to hate
He can fix you all for good
Because he is the neighborhood
You can get money for blood
Blood money for doing no good

Better tell me now, have you made your selection?
Are you ready for correction?
'Cause the wages of sin are an expensive infection
It`ll make you bankrupt
Better pay up now, don`t interrupt
So in love, I`m so sincere
Just like a well-known financier
You know I've never been corrupt

I`ll pay you a compliment
And you`ll think I am innocent
You can total up the balance sheet
And never know if I`m a counterfeit
You won`t take my love for tender...

Lyrics submitted by Mopnugget

Love for Tender Lyrics as written by Elvis Costello

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group

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Love for Tender song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentI'd always thought of the meaning of "tender" as "something tendered or offered, esp. money, as in payment" while listening to this song, but it's only just occurred to me the play on "Love Me Tender".

    Really love "You're the one who hates to love / but he's the one who loves to hate", "Because he is the neighborhood", and "Just like a well-known financier". He's a master of acerbic, unexpectic lyrics.

    I always thought he said "the wages of sin are an expensive affliction".
    lydgateon August 30, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment*err, acerbic and unexpected.
    lydgateon August 30, 2008   Link
  • 0
    Song ComparisonIt's obviously a play off of the "other" Elvis' "Love Me Tender". That song was the sappiest, most straightforward love song imaginable, but Costello flips around one word in the title and turns love into an elaborate metaphor involving financial transactions. From there, it was basically Elvis Costello cramming as many monetary puns and rhymes as possible into the lyrics, guided by the frenetic, off-kilter rhythms of Bruce Thomas & Pete Thomas.
    Davis21wylieon March 27, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI always interpreted "neighborhood," as "neighbor hood. As in: "..he can fix you all for good, because he is the neighbor hood."

    Not only does it make the line make more sense, it would be typical of EC's word play.
    Atmanon February 02, 2021   Link

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