sticky Valentines

I recently spent an afternoon flipping through CDs and websites looking for a first dance song that would suit both our tastes. It’s turning out to be tricky, especially since most of our favorite music is better suited to a divorce proceeding than to a wedding.

After a few hours, I has a “well, duh!” moment and turned to Google. Ach, my eyes! Ze google does nuzzing! Well, nuzzing except remind me why I have assiduously avoided The Knot: The Knot’s first pick for hip first dance songs is Elvis Costello’s “Alison.”


Now, I was eight when “Elvis Costello released My Aim is True. “Alison” is probably the first Elvis Costello song I knew word-for-word all the way through, probably the first Elvis Costello song I sang in the shower, probably the first Elvis Costello song that spurred me to buy an Elvis Costello album as I crept toward my teens. This is a song I loved long before I could really get it. This song twangs a string deep inside my chest.

And even as a kid, I understood that “Alison” is not a song about finding your true love and life companion.

No, really. The lyrics to “Alison,” listed by the official Elvis Costello website and fan club, emphasis mine:

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 going to get too sentimental
like those other sticky valentines,
’cause I don’t know if you’ve been loving some body.
I only know it isn’t mine
Alison, I know this world is killing you.
Oh, Alison, 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.
I’ll bet he took all 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.
Alison, I know this world is killing you.
Oh, Alison, my aim is true.
My aim is true.

3 thoughts on “sticky Valentines

  1. In the UK one of the most popular songs to be played at wedding receptions is U2’s “One”. You know, the song about the guy dying of AIDS and his homophobic father…
    “Did I disappoint you, or leave a bad taste in your mouth? You act like you never had love, now you want me to go without”.

  2. Jeez, that sounds dreamy, Simon. Do they then follow it with a father-daughter dance to “Afternoon Delight?”

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