Give It a Go

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - 2012
Original album - Elysium
Producer - Andrew Dawson, Pet Shop Boys
Subsequent albums - (none)
Other releases - (none)

A simple, down-to-earth number that, like so many on Elysium, initially seems rather unimpressive but then grows on you to the point that you can't help but appreciate the brilliance behind it. Written in Glasgow while the Boys were on their Summer 2011 tour with Take That, this midtempo ballad boasts a mildly Latin, vaguely "sixties-ish" piano-led arrangement (reminiscent, at least to this writer's ears, of some of Burt Bacharach's songs of that decade) that provides Neil's narrative persona with a breezy backdrop for an attempt at gentle seduction. But his is not a young man's argument; rather, he employs a mature, somewhat fatalistic approach, emphasizing the wisdom of striking while the proverbial iron is hot: "For all we know, there's not much time left." So he suggests a casual approach to love—nothing too serious (at least not at first), just a fling, pleasant and enjoyable. This modus operandi is reflected not only in that smoothly rocking music but in the title phrase itself; it's hard to think of a more casual expression in English than "give it a go."

I'm not saying that you can't find yourself
Someone better, oh, no
But in the meantime
Why not give it a go?

As the song continues, however, the narrator can't help but slip his longer-term aspirations for love—lines that perhaps slyly allude to the "gay marriage debate." Or perhaps these lines are intended to suggest the passage of time and a later stage in their relationship. That is, now that they've successsfully "given a go" to a less serious love affair, maybe now the time has come to take a shot at something more permanent:

Take it away
Share all I've got now
Catch the bouquet
Let's tie the knot now

When you get right down to it, I think I like this particular narrative persona of Neil's more than any other he has assumed in PSB songs. He just sounds like a very, very nice, appealing chap. I hope his appeals work.

"Give It a Go" leaves me smiling each time I hear it—or at least every time I've heard it following those first few tentative listenings. I think it's the music more so than the lyrics, with its light, delightful melody and its understated but gorgeous production (catch the remarkably tasteful use of kettledrum, so subtle that I didn't even notice it at first!), that makes it a humble little triumph.

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