"Alison" as written by and Elvis Costello....
Oh, it's so funny to be seeing you after so long, girl
And with the way you look, I understand that you were not impressed
But I heard you let that little friend of mine
Take off your party dress

I'm not gonna get too sentimental
Like those other sticky valentines
'Cause I don't know if you are loving somebody
I only know it isn't mine

Allison, I know this world is killing you
Oh, Allison, my aim is true

Well, I see you've got a husband now
Did he leave your pretty fingers lying in the wedding cake?
You used to hold him right in your hand
But it took all that he could take

Sometimes I wish that I could stop you from talking
When I hear the silly things that you say
I think somebody better put out the big light
'Cause I can't stand to see you this way

Allison, I know this world is killing you
Oh, Allison, my aim is true
My aim is true
My aim is true
My aim is true
My aim is true
My aim is true
My aim is true
My aim is true
My aim is true
My aim is true
My aim is true
My aim is true

Lyrics submitted by magicnudiesuit, edited by Wootlers

"Alison" as written by Elvis Costello

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group

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Alison song meanings
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  • +8
    General CommentThis is actually somewhat of a sad song, it's about a guy who runs into a girl who broke his heart, and as they talk he finds out how bad her life has gotten. She is in a loveless and judging from the lyrics of the last verse possibly abusive relationship. And he's upset by this cause he thinks she deserves better and wants to help, but she won't let him.
    ArcherAveon March 04, 2003   Link
  • +4
    Song MeaningAm I the only one who gets it? ;o)~

    No, seriously, IMO, when he says "My Aim is True", it is in the context of his 'aim' or 'goal'; that being of wanting to help her, is true, honest, sincere - NOT that he wants to put a bullet in her.

    Additionally, the first time I heard it I didn't get the lyrics: "'cause I don't know if you've been loving somebody - - I only know it isn't mine", but when I heard it again, it clicked that he is actually saying "'cause I don't know if you've been loving some body, I only know it isn't mine . . . ".

    I've been on the receiving end of obsessive feelings and I know some of you will agree, it only takes one chance meeting, an innocent reply to a seemingly innocent email, a 'touching base' phone call, etc. to get the obsessive party all obsessive again, and this is clearly what is happening to him in this song. It is clear she isn't overly thrilled (impressed) at seeing him

    Another thing is that I think it is two meetings, not just one. In the first he says (again):
    "cause I don't know if you've been loving somebody" and in the second alludes to her being, or having been married, so two meetings at different times, not just one.

    The lyrics "I'll bet he took all he could take” instead of meaning what other people seem to think it means, that the husband used her, I believe means that like the narrator, the husband too was taken for a “ride” by Alison, and that he took all that he could stand, because he too loved her.

    Lastly, “Sometimes I wish that I could stop you from talking when I hear the silly things that you say” simply means it hurts too much to even listen to her, and “I think somebody better put out the big light, cause I can't stand to see you this way” is him begging for someone / something to please end these feelings he has for her, once and for all.

    LilMsPurrfecton April 17, 2010   Link
  • +4
    General CommentElvis said in an interview about this song, "the sad face of this beautiful girl was somebody he saw in a supermarket and supposed he had a momentary crush on this girl. But in a way the song became a premonition of his ability to be constant (faithful)." Basically, he was talking about being unfaithful to his wife and family. He said "he can acknowledge what happened in the past,but can't go back and change it."
    CMAC1on October 17, 2015   Link
  • +3
    This song is definitely about a girl who's found herself in a rough life since her old flame last saw her.

    He sees that her life hasn't gone well since they were together. She's carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders, rather than her being on top of the world.

    He doesn't sound pleased at all that her marriage has failed, and expresses that it's hard to see her this way, because he thought she was worth more.

    This song shares a striking resemblance to an Alison I used to date. We met again in college some time after we'd broken up. She got interested in this guy that was always drinking, partying, and leaving the house trashed for her to pick up.

    She'd expressed to me how things were hard for her, how stressed she was, how she'd messed up with "us", and how she missed so many things about our relationship. Despite this, she kept brushing me off while coming back into my life at odd times with romantic intent.

    Eventually, her words became "silly" to me because she would always do the opposite of what she said she felt, and I finally "stopped her from talking" and "turned out the light" on us by walking away from her for good. It actually hurt me more to see the life she was living than anything she said or did to me, because she deserved better.

    I can relate to the song. All I wanted for the Alison that I knew was to be happy; even if that meant without me. In the end, I just feel sorry for her.
    Nyloon December 08, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentYou Allisons think YOU have it bad?
    I was named after Elvis Costello!
    songkingon January 03, 2011   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI always thought that it was about a guy who was dumped by his ex-girlfriend, but never stopped loving her. Then he sees her twice and the first time he sees her she's all on track with some other man, so he's jealous but knows there isn't anything he can do. Then when he sees her later on the guy she was with has married her but then abused her, so she feels awful about herself and the 'silly things that you say' are the things she says about hating herself and her insecurities, because he will always see her as beautiful and 'can't stand to see' her so torn up and upset.
    boffinbabe12on January 04, 2009   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningI always thought that this song was what a lot of people are saying: a sweet, regretful reflection on a woman that the narrator used to be in love with. The way it begins, and the instrumentation, really push you to think that. But thinking about the lyrics this morning, I completely changed my mind. "My aim is true" is definitely literal; he's offering to kill her.

    Think about it--it comes right after "I know this world is killing you." The most logical type of "aim" that he would be talking about there is the type that kills--quickly, not slowly and painfully like the world does.

    He wants to "stop her from talking."
    He wants to "put out the big light."

    He implies that she slept with a friend of his, has an abusive husband, and is or was pregnant by someone he doesn't know--that's possibly three men she's been with after her, so maybe he's angry. Or maybe he is sincerely just pitying her for her failed marriage.

    Look, I don't think it's literally supposed to be about a deranged guy who's about to shoot his ex at a party. But the subtext of him offering to put her out of her misery is definitely there.
    Shannonymouson June 11, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General CommentLots of very interesting interpretations! My take is that the story teller and Alison were a couple until she cheated on him at a party with his friend. He dumped her and she shows up pregnant and suggests the baby is his and wants to get back together with him. He says the kid isn't his and doesn't want to have anything to do with her because he knows(aim is true) that she's not right for him.
    There is another later encounter and now she is unhappily married and once more she suggests they get back together but he knows that it would never work and wishes she would stop the silly talk and forget the idea of them(big light like the lightbulb metaphor for an idea). He is honest and knows himself and Alison very well(aim is true) and that she can't be trusted.
    Sammyxon October 01, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti was named after this song as well, but my dad went for, in his words, "the better spelling." personally, i don't care either way about spelling, but it annoys me when people only put 1 L... it's a great song, though i hope i never act like the Alison of this song... he does imply, though, that the world's "killing her" - maybe she's drowning, to be symbolic, and that's why she's behaving this way... you know what i mean?
    scheisseon June 02, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI've always thought the song was about a generally sweet and innocent girl who takes a few wrong turns and messes up her life.
    Papaon July 02, 2002   Link

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