Giving you more of what for
Always worked for me before
Now I'm a shabby doll
What's going on behind the green elevator door
With just a shabby doll

There's a hit man facing
A compromising situation
With just a shabby doll
And a very neat line in character assassination
She's just a shabby doll

She's just a shabby doll
She's putting him off and putting you on
She's just a shabby doll, she's just a shabby doll
You're swearing upon you know in your heart
She's gone you know in your heart
She's just a shabby doll

There's a girl in this dress
There's always a girl in distress
She's just a shabby doll
She's so sure she's self-possessed
Then again she's half undressed
She's just a shabby doll

The boy that I used to be
Showed no sign of sympathy
For just a shabby doll
I have betrayed you and me
And paid for my own bribery
With just a shabby doll

She's just a shabby doll
She's putting him off and putting you on
She's just a shabby doll, she's just a shabby doll
You're swearing upon you know in your heart
She's gone you know in your heart
She's just a shabby doll

He's the tired toy that everyone's enjoyed
He wants to be a fancy man but he's nothing but a antsy boy
He's all pride and no joy

And being what you might call a whore
Always worked for me before
Now I'm a shabby doll
Untie the gag the cat's out of the bag
But won't show his claws
He's just a shabby doll

She said you must be joking
Some things are left unspoken
You're just a shabby doll
He's lying limp and soaking
He was openly broken
By just a shabby doll

She's just a shabby doll
She's putting him off and putting you on
She's just a shabby doll, she's just a shabby doll
You're swearing upon you know in your heart
She's gone you know in your heart
She's just a shabby doll
He's just a shabby doll
He's just a shabby doll


Lyrics submitted by Mopnugget, edited by sharkycharming

Shabby Doll Lyrics as written by Elvis Costello

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Shabby Doll song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentI think this song has a similar noir tone to "Watching the Detectives." I love how the shabby doll isn't just one person, and nobody gets off easy. And my love for Costello's wordplay is at its peak when I hear, "there's a girl in this dress /
    there's always a girl in distress."

    This is one of my very favorite E.C. songs, and Imperial Bedroom is my favorite album of his.
    sharkycharmingon August 09, 2013   Link

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