Up Against It

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - 1996
Original album - Bilingual
Producer - Pet Shop Boys, Chris Porter
Subsequent albums - (none)
Other releases - (none)

Neil borrowed the title of this song from a proposed screenplay that Joe Orton wrote for the Beatles (but was of course never filmed). The setting of the lyrics is late 'forties postwar Britain, in which the populace, though victors in the war, must now struggle with the product shortages and severe winters that followed in its wake. But the lessons of the song are equally applicable to much more recent times.

Ever the student of history, Neil also cites "so deep in quicklime, the bones of an old crime," referring to the remains of the royal Romanov family, slain during the Russian Revolution. He seems to be describing how momentous historical events reverberate long after, haunting the people who survive them by years and even decades. These are people who are "up against it," facing the consequences of political events and deeds over which they had no control but must nonetheless suffer for. "In a way," says Neil, "the song is just saying politics is shit." This, indeed, is a timeless message.


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