"Tenderness" as written by Mark Spiro, Jack White and Laura A. Branigan....
Aah, ah, ah, oh
Aah, aah, aah, oh

I don't know where to start or where to stop
My luck's like a button
I can't stop pushing it
My head feels light
But I'm still in the dark
Seems like without tenderness there's something missing

Tenderness, where is the
Tenderness, where is it
I don't know where I am but I know I don't like it
I open my mouth and out pops something spiteful
Words are so cheap
But they can turn out expensive
Words like conviction can turn into a sentence

I held your hands
Rings but none on that finger
We danced and danced
But I was scared to go much further with it
Just half a chance
Make sure that one night you're here but
Next night you're not
It always leaves me searching for a little

Tenderness, tenderness, tenderness, where is the tenderness

Whistling in the graveyard
Calling up your girlfriend
Just trying to make her understand
You're squeezing the telephone like it was her hand
No question
So many questions
She's going to catch you out boy
It all seems so underhand
Now she's the only thing that ever made you feel like a man, man
Madman madman

Where is the tenderness, the tenderness
Where is the tenderness, the tenderness, where is it

I held your hands
Rings but none on that finger
We danced and danced
But I was scared to go much further with it
Just half a chance
Make sure that one night you're here but
Next night you're not
It always leaves me searching for a little

Tenderness, tenderness, tenderness, tenderness
Tenderness, tenderness, tenderness, tenderness
Tenderness, tenderness, tenderness, tenderness
Tenderness, tenderness, tenderness, tenderness


Lyrics submitted by delial

"Tenderness" as written by Roger Charlery Mick Billingham

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Spirit Music Group, BMG Rights Management

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Tenderness song meanings
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13 Comments

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  • +4
    General Commentclearly one of the best songs ever.

    effing amaze
    mkfanaticon June 24, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentLike, I'm with everyone that this is a song about a hookup being kept at arms length and questioning if sex alone is enough, however my gay-dar is off the charts with this song. I cannot see how this song could be about a man and a woman hooking up. People are reading "girlfriend" as "friend that is a girl" but I think everyone is just reading these lyrics from a super heteronormative place and not taking any other context clues (like the fact that he refers to the same person on the phone with a girlfriend as a boy apparently separate from himself).

    I don't have it in me to analyze the song in its entirety at the moment, but the lines, "But I was scared to go much further with it," "Calling up your girlfriend/Just trying to make her understand," "So many questions/She's going to catch you out boy," and the line "Now she's the only thing that ever made you feel like a man," parts taken together seems, to me, to paint a picture of a guy wanting to hookup with this other guy he's dancing with but scared he's reading the situation wrong--maybe this guy isn't gay, and at the time this song was released this was even more dangerous a situation than it is now if he happens to get it wrong (see also: the line about his luck being a button he can't stop pushing).

    Then he does end up leaving with the guy, though, and finds out he had a girlfriend and the guy has to call her on their walk home and explain why he's going to be out so late. The singer's perspective, then, is that this guy's girlfriend is going to figure him out at some point and that he thinks this guy is fighting so hard to keep this girlfriend in his life, despite him being interested in men, because she "makes him feel like
    man" (i.e. offers him masculine status that society generally denies gay men--she's a "beard," so to speak). The song then, overall, seems to be questioning how/lamenting the fact that this guy who seems to be attracted to men only ever hooks up with other men (due to his having a girlfriend to think of) rather than having the meaningful relationships/love/tenderness with men he probably would prefer.

    If that isn't what this song is about, it damn well should be because that is a way more unique, complex, and important story than just yet another dude wanting to have sex with a girl but then catching the feels.
    ks990on June 01, 2018   Link
  • +1
    General Commentim with the other three posters when i say this song kicks so much ass.

    check out the dude's hair its ridic
    bottlerocket88on June 23, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"So many threes after my less than sign for General Public and this song"

    Amen!
    bollywoodtoileon September 22, 2007   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaningboy meets girl at dance... falls in love but doesn't move on it... then tries to track girl down... phones her girlfriend to get some information about her... is at the mercy of whether or not she shows up at the dance club on a given night... is generally all mixed up and messed up over this girl that he may have missed his big chance with, and now does not know how or whether he will get a second chance.

    sweet, innocent, optimistic, positive. great song.
    dcbaon March 30, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    i think this song is about ego and the mating dance between men and women- what is expected

    the woman acts coy, and the man expects this because this is what society dictates ("make sure one night you are there, but one night you are not, always leaves me wanting...."

    i think it is conflict, between what he knows is wrong- this deception and what is expected of him- which is to continue with this "ritual" and he might be saying to himself there is no tenderness in this "dance" but it makes him feel like a "man"

    the deception could also be another woman-and fearing his girlfriend might find out (the second verse makes me suspect this)

    maybe jumping from one thing to another- being beguiled by trickery and deception, knowing it but all the while going along with it because that makes him feel like a man-but in a twisted way though.

    anyhow my take on the lyrics-
    concerned12on November 20, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSuuuuuuuuuuuuch a good song...why has no one commented?
    So many threes after my less than sign for General Public and this song
    WillyWiluhpson May 26, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSuch a sweet song from the brat pack days... I'm surprised at the lack of comments!
    Simple mindon May 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentokay..but whats it mean?
    sublime5446on December 29, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt is about "booty calls", trying to exchange sex for love. Trying to keep a Bootycall at arms length, kidding yourself that you dont really care, that it is just sex on the one hand, and from the other perspective knowing that it is just sex but being willing to take anything you can get from the person you really love, regardless of how they treat you,
    thecrossboneon January 25, 2009   Link

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