Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - 1996
Original album - Bilingual 2001 reissue Further Listening 1995-1997 bonus disc
Producer - Pet Shop Boys
Subsequent albums - Format
Other releases - bonus track with single "Se A Vida É"
When this song appeared as another bonus track on the "Se A Vida É" CD single, fans immediately began to speculate who or what it may be about. Was Neil describing his betrayal by a former lover? He quickly squelched such rumors by describing its more prosaic origins. Written years before, it was inspired by an incident that occurred back in his pre-stardom days when he worked at a publishing house. He and his colleagues had been sacked during a labor dispute. Much to his dismay, he discovered that a friend of his, a freelancer for whom he had often provided work, had taken over his job. In effect, she became a "scab." Understandably, Neil felt terribly betrayed, and this song grew out of that experience.
Interestingly, "Betrayed" has a lengthy "behind the scenes" history. Neil originally wrote it as a country song, inspired somewhat by the film Coal Miner's Daughter about country singer Loretta Lynn, which was in current release (and which therefore pegs the year as 1980). After he and Chris had worked with Dusty Springfield on various projects from 1987 to 1990, they sent the re-worked song to her in hopes that she would record it during some Nashville studio sessions, but she declined.
Stylistically, this track is tremendously inspired by the "jungle" and "drum and bass" styles that were quite popular at the time in dance music. In fact, the Boys had taken it as a challenge when they had read somewhere on the Internet that they would never record a song in this style. As they note in the Format booklet, the arrangement was somewhat influenced by that of the contemporary Everything But the Girl U.K. hit "Walking Wounded."
- "You said if you'd to choose between some money and a friend / You'd always choose the friend" – These lines paraphrase or, perhaps more accurately, adapt (while rendering far less controversial) a famous statement by British author E.M. Forster (1879-1970): "If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country" (from Forster's 1938 essay "What I Believe"). It may be worth noting that these lines of the song use the contraction "you'd" in two different ways: first in its less common meaning of "you had" and then in its more common meaning of "you would."
- "… with that more-in-sorrow-than-anger routine" – An echo of the words of Horatio in Shakespeare's Hamlet (Act 1, Scene 2) when he describes the ghost of Hamlet's father as having "A countenance more in sorrow than in anger."
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