Try It (I'm in Love with a Married Man)

Writers - Bobby Orlando
First released - 2003
Original album - Disco 3
Producer - Pet Shop Boys
Subsequent albums - Release 2017 reissue Further Listening 2001-2004 bonus disc
Other releases - (none)

In October 2002 the Boys made their first-ever appearance on BBC Radio's legendary The John Peel Show. Peel's program is a cherished institution of U.K. radio, providing a showcase for music rarely heard in other settings. Much of his playlist consists of tracks by obscure artists, but well-known artists also frequent his show, often providing specially recorded renditions of their hits and/or obscurities of their own. Neil and Chris recorded four tracks "live" in the studio for Peel: "London" and three much older songs that date from the very early days of their partnership, before they scored their first hit. This was one of those three older songs, but the version that appears on Disco 3 is a different recording than the one made during the Peel sessions.

"Try It (I'm in Love with a Married Man)" is a cover of a fairly obscure 1983 dance-club hit written and produced by their early idol and mentor, Bobby O. It was originally recorded by Oh Romeo, one of Orlando's assorted "girl groups." In a 2003 interview that ran in the soon-to-be-defunct "club culture" magazine Jockey Slut, the Boys said that they had wanted to record it with Tina Turner, but those plans came to naught. So Chris and Neil decided to record it themselves. Neil's vocal transforms a heterosexual if adulterous tale into a decidedly "gay" storyline—while remaining every bit as adulterous as the original. Thus they succeed in taking a mildly shocking song and making it considerably more shocking. Of course, Neil may be adopting a feminine persona, as he has done on occasion. But there's nothing about his performance that necessarily suggests a female narrator; most casual listeners would simply assume he's singing from the perspective of a gay male.

The lyric itself is actually quite poignant, emphasizing the narrator's sadness. While such lines as "Do you think about me, darlin', when you make love to your wife?" may seem teasing and taunting at first, later lines underscore the true misery that lies at the heart of such a question: "Do you ever long for me?—as I get down on my knees, as I cry myself to sleep?" More than a plea for an end to loneliness, it's also a plea for compassion: "The world won't understand my affair with a married man." Indeed, since many if not most people have difficulty understanding purely heterosexual adultery, imagine how challenging bisexual adultery must be for them!

As for the music, it's fairly typical early-eighties midtempo disco, with the real "hook" supplied by the vocoderized "Try it, try it—try my love on" refrain (in other words, "Put yourself in my shoes," another plea for understanding), almost certainly performed by Chris. Overall, while the song's not quite as hypnotically enthralling as certain other Bobby O classics—such as the notorious "Passion" by the most successful of his girl groups, the Flirts—it's easy to understand how Chris and Neil could be sufficiently taken with it to "try it" themselves.

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