Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - 1994
Original album - Alternative
Producer - Pet Shop Boys
Subsequent albums - Very 2001 reissue Further Listening 1992-1994 bonus disc
Other releases - b-side of single "Liberation"

As they relate in the Alternative booklet, the Pet Shop Boys had been asked to write the theme music for a film titled Decadence based on a play by Steven Berkoff. Chris began writing a song built around a sample of the opening two bars of the Burt Bacharach/Hal David tune "I Say a Little Prayer" as performed by Aretha Franklin. When the song was finished, however, Neil and Chris decided that the track didn't need the sample and thus removed it. They also decided not to submit the song for use in the film after having seen a rough edit, which they apparently didn't particularly like.

According to Neil, the lyrics directly address "someone who's become a really horrible person because they take lots of drugs and all they think about is money." When once asked whether "Yesterday, When I Was Mad" was about the Boys' former manager Tom Watkins, Neil replied, "No, but 'Decadence' was." Neil has also stated elsewhere that he regrets the reference to "fin de siècle pretense" (fin de siècle is French for "end of the century," commonly a period for decadent behavior), chiding himself for his own pretentiousness in authoring such a line.

Johnny Marr, formerly of the Smiths, played guitar, giving the track a distinctly "unplugged" feel—which undoubtedly inspired the Boys to go all the way and provide an "Unplugged Mix". Chris says the recording "cost a fortune."



Officially released

List cross-references