Se A Vida É (That's the Way Life Is)

Writers - Tennant/Ademanio/Negra/Do Barballio/Lowe
First released - 1996
Original album - Bilingual
Producer - Pet Shop Boys, Chris Porter
Subsequent albums - PopArt, Pandemonium, Ultimate
Other releases - single (UK #8, US Dance Sales #8)

Neil says that this song was written to cheer up a depressed friend. The melody, much of the arrangement, and even the title was adapted from a Brazilian song—"Estrada Da Paixãao" by the group Olodum—that the Boys had encountered and enjoyed during their South American tour. Hence they properly gave that song's composers a co-writing credit. The intensely rhythmic percussion was provided by She-Boom, an all-woman drum corps.

The words "se a vida é," meant to be translated "that's the way life is," actually means "If life is." It's therefore an instance of bad Portuguese and borders on nonsense within the context of the song. But Neil never claimed to be fluent in the language. Nevertheless, it sounds good. And the song itself has emerged as a latter-day PSB concert staple, never failing to spread its infectiously cheery air through a crowd.

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