Song Lyric Sunday: You’ve Been Tangoed

The prompt for Song Lyric Sunday from Jim Adams is
Brutal, Cruel, Frenzy, Savage, Violent.
The song must contain one of these words in either the title or the lyrics.
If the song does not meet these criteria, please explain why you chose it.


Today we have a theme pandering to the dark side. No fluffy songs about flowers and kittens: Unless the lyrics involve flamethrowers and/or bulldozers.

But not wanting to completely ruin your Sunday, I’ve added a little humour by choosing a song from Tom Lehrer. A musician, singer-songwriter, and mathematician. Who, in the 1950s and 1960s, wrote many a satirical song on many a subject. Porn, drugs, race relations, and nuclear war are only a few of the topics he skewered with deadly accuracy.

His songs are riddled with cynicism, scepticism, and black humour, as seen in this quote from Lehrer about his musical career:

If, after hearing my songs, just one human being is inspired to say something nasty to a friend, or perhaps to strike a loved one, it will all have been worth the while.

I think he was joking. But there are many prime contenders from his back catalogue dripping with cruelty and violence. And here is my personal favourite.

Got your safe word ready? Because we are going to dance to the Masochism Tango…

I ache for the touch of your lips, dear
But much more for the touch of your whips, dear
You can raise welts
Like nobody else
As we dance to the Masochism Tango

Say our love is a flame, not an ember
Say it’s me that you want to dismember
Blacken my eye
Set fire to my tie
As we dance to the Masochism Tango

At your command
Before you here I stand
My heart is in my hand
(Yeechh!)
It’s here that I must be

My heart entreats
Just hear those savage beats
And go put on your cleats
And come and trample me

Your heart is hard as stone or mahogany
That’s why I’m in such exquisite agony
My soul is on fire
It’s aflame with desire
Which is why I perspire when we tango

You caught my nose
In your left castanet, love
I can feel the pain yet, love
Every time I hear drums

And I envy the rose
That you held in your teeth, love
With the thorns underneath, love
Sticking into your gums

Your eyes cast a spell that bewitches
The last time I needed twenty stitches
To sew up the gash
You made with your lash
As we danced to the Masochism Tango

Bash in my brain
And make me scream with pain
Then kick me once again
And say we’ll never part

I know too well
I’m underneath your spell
So, darling, if you smell
Something burning, it’s my heart

Take your cigarette from its holder
And burn your initials in my shoulder
Fracture my spine
And swear that you’re mine
As we dance to the Masochism Tango

Words & Music: Tom Lehrer
© Public domain.

In 2020, at the age of 92, Lehrer donated all his songs to the public domain. You can find the lyrics and music HERE.

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