The Boy Who Couldn't Keep His Clothes On
Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - 1997
Original album - Bilingual 2001 reissue Further Listening 1995-1997 bonus disc
Subsequent albums - Format
Other releases - bonus track with single "A Red Letter Day"
Like "Music for Boys," a b-side (in this case, for "A Red Letter Day") that gained as much if not greater popularity in gay dance clubs than its a-side. (Hmmm, I wonder why) In fact, the song itself is set in a gay dance club. Inspired musically by their recent DiscoVery tour in Latin America and lyrically by the frequent (but former) behavior of a friend of theirs, Neil describes a young man's penchant for removing his clothes while dancing, much to the appreciation of those around him. (He eventually stopped doing that sort of thing, however, largely because of the way in which Neil and Chris teased him about it.) This behavior, though superficially scandalous, is actually a liberating experience: "He is exactly where he wants to be, in a world of his own."
At one point Neil's vocals drop away and we're treated to a spoken monologue by a young womanapparently the young man's girlfriend (shades of "Can You Forgive Her?")who tries to discourage him from his exhibitionistic tendencies and voices assorted threats ("I'm telling your mother!"), but to no avail. Funny stuff that was guaranteedif not calculatedly plannedto prove a huge success with the gay segment of the Boys' audience.
To take an alternate perspective, however, one of my site visitors suggested that this song could easily be interpreted from a rather negative angle. Could it actually be a commentary onor at least an unvarnished description ofwhat my correspondent referred to as "gay club hell," in which young gay men, new to the scene, can quickly descend into a careless, artificial, and ultimately self-destructive euphoria of drugs, drink, and dance? A very real phenomemonand a very interesting, thoughtful interpretation. Perhaps there's a lot more to this song than meets the eye at first glance.
Pet Shop Boys and Danny Tenaglia
- Original version (5:44)
Club Mix (6:09)
- Available on the Further Listening bonus disc with the Bilingual reissue, on Bilingual "Special Edition" bonus disc, and on Format
- Radio Edit (3:32)
- Main Vocal Mix (5:45)
- Banji Girlfriend Beats (4:44)
- Onstage at Twilo (10:26)
- The Far Away Dub (8:50)
"Official" but "unreleased":
- The Far Away 12" Mix
- Tenaglia's 12" Club Mix
- Tenaglia's Classic Club Mix
- Tenaglia's Extended Mix
- Banji Beats Mix
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