Disco Potential

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - 1997
Original album - Bilingual 2001 reissue Further Listening 1995-1997 bonus disc
Producer - Pet Shop Boys
Subsequent albums - Format
Other releases - bonus track with single "Somewhere"

A dissonant Chris Lowe workout (which originally appeared on the U.K. "Somewhere" CD single) that reveals a belated industrial influence. It also bears some similarity to U2's at least partly tongue-in-cheek "Discothèque," which had recently been a minor hit single. This immediately caused fans to speculate that "Disco Potential" may have been a commentary of some sort on the U2 track, perhaps even a parody. The Boys in fact confirmed as much when Neil noted (in the pages of their fan magazine Literally) that it's "supposed to sound a bit like Bono doing disco."

The brief, barely intelligible lyrics, virtually buried beneath the cacophonous mix, refer obliquely to Tamara Beckwith, a well-known young London socialite and heiress. The track's oft-repeated title reportedly came about from words that Neil was singing over and over while he and Chris were drunkenly jamming. (Neil, however, says he doesn't remember this.) On the other hand, one is tempted to think that it just possibly could have been inspired by the kind of comment that Neil (or Chris himself) might have made after listening to a playback of the instrumental track: "Well, at least it's got disco potential." That would be just like the Pet Shop Boys.


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