Oh, the sky fell over cheap Korean monster-movie scenery
And spilled into the mezzanine of the crushed capsule hotel
Between the Disney abattoir and the chemical refinery
I knew I was in trouble but I thought I was in hell
So you look around the tiny room and you wonder where the hell you are
While the K.K.K. convention are all stranded in the bar
They wear hoods and carry shotguns in the main streets of Montgomery
But they're helpless here as babies 'cause they're only here on holiday

What do we care if the world is a joke? (Tokyo Storm Warning)
We'll give it a big kiss, we'll give it a poke (Tokyo Storm Warning)
Death wears a big hat 'cause he's a big bloke (Tokyo Storm Warning)
We're only living this instant

Well, the black sand stuck beneath her feet in a warm Sorrento sunrise
A barefoot girl from Naples or was it a Barcelona hi-rise?
Whistles out the tuneless theme song of a hundred cheap suggestions
And a million false seductions and all those eternal questions

Well, what do we care if the world is a joke? (Tokyo Storm Warning)
Oh, we'll give it a big kiss, we'll give it a poke (Tokyo Storm Warning)
Death wears a big hat 'cause he's a big bloke (Tokyo Storm Warning)
We're only living this instant

So they flew the Super-Constellation all the way from Rimini
And feasted them on fish and chips from a newspaper facsimile
Now dead Italian tourist bodies litter up the Broadway
Some people can't be told, you know they have to learn the hard way

Holidays are dirt-cheap in the Costa del Malvinas
In the Hotel Argentina they can hardly tell between us
For Teresa is a waitress, though she's now known as Juanita
In a tango bar in Stanley or in Puerto Margarita
She's the sweetest and the sauciest
The loveliest and naughtiest
She's Miss Buenos Aires in a world of lacy lingerie

What do we care if the world is a joke? (Tokyo Storm Warning)
We'll give it a big kiss, we'll give it a poke (Tokyo Storm Warning)
Death wears a big hat 'cause he's a big bloke (Tokyo Storm Warning)
We're only living this instant

Japanese God, Jesus robots telling teenage fortunes
For all we know and all we care they might as well be Martians
They say gold paint on the palace gates comes from the teeth of pensioners
They're so tired of shooting protest singers
That they hardly mention us
While fountains fill with second-hand perfume and sodden trading stamps
They'll hang the bullies and the louts that dampen down the day

What do we care if the world is a joke? (Tokyo Storm Warning)
We'll give it a big kiss, we'll give it a poke (Tokyo Storm Warning)
Death wears a big hat 'cause he's a big bloke (Tokyo Storm Warning)
We're only living this instant, hey

We braved the cold November air and the undertaker's curses, saying
"Take me to the Folies Bergères, and please don't spare the hearses"
For he always had a dream of that revolver in your purse
How you loved him 'till you hated him and made him cry for mercy
He said "don't ever mention my name there or talk of all the nights you cried
We've always been like worlds apart, now you're seeing two nightmares collide"

What do we care if the world is a joke? (Tokyo Storm Warning)
We'll give it a big kiss, we'll give it a poke (Tokyo Storm Warning)
Death wears a big hat 'cause he's a big bloke (Tokyo Storm Warning)
We're only living this instant, hey, ow!

Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba!


Lyrics submitted by dev0n

Tokyo Storm Warning Lyrics as written by Elvis Costello Cait O'riordan

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Tokyo Storm Warning song meanings
Add Your Thoughts

6 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +3
    General Comment

    From Elvis's liner notes in the 1995 reissue of Blood & Chocolate: "Tokyo Storm Warning is a thug's nightmare travelogue from Narita to Heysel, from Pompeii to Port Stanley, Paris and London. It was cut on 'take one.' I then added the backing vocals, distorted guitar figure and backwards solo. In case you were wondering, a 'Japanese God-Jesus Robot' is a little electric fortune-telling toy that waves a cross to indicate whether your girlfriend or boyfriend loves you."

    I also think this song and Radiohead's "Electioneering" sound very similar.

    blood is thinon April 18, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Such a perfect document of the time.

    Blood and Chocolate is an album by Elvis Costello and the Attractions. The album reunited Costello, the Attractions and producer Nick Lowe, but it was the last recorded by the group before a breakup that would last for eight years. The album was, unusually for its time as a studio album, recorded in a single large room at high volume, with the band listening to each other on monitor speakers rather than headphones. Costello describes it as "a record of people beating and twanging things with a fair amount of yelling". Costello's singing and playing is credited on the album under the pseudonym "Napoleon Dynamite," while his songwriting is credited to him under his actual surname, "MacManus" (with the exception of "I Hope You're Happy Now", which is credited to "Costello"). The album uses Esperanto to list musician credits and LP sides.

    thefukkistuppiston February 12, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I think of this song as an audio version of Death's holiday brochure.

    References to trouble and strife are rich within the song, some include:

    "Holidays are dirt-cheap in the Costa del Malvinas " - refers to the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands

    "Now dead Italian tourists bodies litter up the Broadway" - either the Achille Lauro Hijacking, October 7, 1985 or Airport Attacks in Rome and Vienna, December 27, 1985

    "They wear hoods and carry shotguns in the main streets of Montgomery" - referring to the Rosa Parks incident.

    thefukkistuppiston February 12, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    love the line "While fountains fill with second-hand perfume", the water washing it from the bodies of victims

    thefukkistuppiston February 12, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Ha!

    It is indeed true about Electioneering!

    exaltoon October 24, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I adore this song and feel like it's under appreciated. I listened to it quite a bit last spring during one of the worst classes I've ever taken and then constantly this summer because even though it shouldn't have fit an absurd class where they could read a book on Ella Baker and practically never discuss gender or race and instead talk about "spaciality", "What do we care if the world is a joke... We'll give it a big kiss. We'll give it a poke" seemed very appropriate because their research didn't seem to care about inequality or anything really. All the while they, particularly one or two individuals, would decry my department for its "disciplinary" ways and "proving points with numbers." (For the record, I'm a sociologist, not exactly controversial.)

    Then over the summer I just listened, fantasizing about how I would dismantle that department, and as an early birthday gift, the dean closed it, "Now dead Italian tourists bodies [they even made a little headstone for their department] litter up the Broadway. Some people can't be told, you know they have to learn the hard way." And they're protesting now. I felt like I willed it into being through listening to this song hundreds of times. I just wish I could take the credit for the closing, could have felt like I had real role in making my university a better place.

    There should be a last line about Christmas coming early.

    VictoriaLeeon January 02, 2013   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

More Featured Meanings

Album art
Step
Ministry
Both as a standalone and as part of the DSOTS album, you can take this lyric as read. As a matter of public record, Jourgensen's drug intake was legendary even in the 1980s. By the late 90s, in his own words, he was grappling with massive addiction issues and had lost almost everything: friends, spouse, money and had nearly died more than once. "Dark Side of the Spoon" is a both funny & sad title for an album made by a musical genius who was losing the plot; and this song is a message to his fans & friends saying he knows it. It's painful to listen to so I'm glad the "Keith Richards of industrial metals" wised up and cleaned up. Well done sir.
Album art
Cajun Girl
Little Feat
Overall about difficult moments of disappointment and vulnerability. Having hope and longing, while remaining optimistic for the future. Encourages the belief that with each new morning there is a chance for things to improve. The chorus offers a glimmer of optimism and a chance at a resolution and redemption in the future. Captures the rollercoaster of emotions of feeling lost while loving someone who is not there for you, feeling let down and abandoned while waiting for a lover. Lost with no direction, "Now I'm up in the air with the rain in my hair, Nowhere to go, I can go anywhere" The bridge shows signs of longing and a plea for companionship. The Lyrics express a desire for authentic connection and the importance of Loving someone just as they are. "Just in passing, I'm not asking. That you be anyone but you”
Album art
Gentle Hour
Yo La Tengo
This song was originally written by a guy called Peter Gutteridge. He was one of the founders of the "Dunedin Sound" a musical scene in the south of New Zealand in the early 80s. From there it was covered by "The Clean" one of the early bands of that scene (he had originally been a member of in it's early days, writing a couple of their best early songs). The Dunedin sound, and the Clean became popular on american college radio in the mid to late 80s. I guess Yo La Tengo heard that version. Great version of a great song,
Album art
Just A Little Lovin'
Dusty Springfield
I don't think it's necessarily about sex. It's about wanting to start the day with some love and affection. Maybe a warm cuddle. I'm not alone in interpreting it that way! For example: "'Just a Little Lovin’ is a timeless country song originally recorded by Eddy Arnold in 1954. The song, written by Eddie Miller and Jimmy Campbell, explores the delicate nuances of love and showcases Arnold’s emotive vocals. It delves into the universal theme of love and how even the smallest gesture of affection can have a profound impact on our lives." https://oldtimemusic.com/the-meaning-behind-the-song-just-a-little-lovin-by-eddy-arnold/
Album art
Blue
Ed Sheeran
“Blue” is a song about a love that is persisting in the discomfort of the person experiencing the emotion. Ed Sheeran reflects on love lost, and although he wishes his former partner find happiness, he cannot but admit his feelings are still very much there. He expresses the realization that he might never find another on this stringed instrumental by Aaron Dessner.