Colour of a Man
by The Hidden Cameras

Writers - Joel Gibb
First released - 2009
Original album - Origin: Orphan
Subsequent albums - (none)
Other releases - (none)

The Hidden Cameras is an eclectic Canadian indie band fronted by singer-songwriter Joel Gibb. In fact, it's one of those more-or-less one-man bands like The Divine Comedy and Nine Inch Nails, consisting of a single constant who supports himself as needed with a rotating group of satellite musicians. Gibb has described his often heavily orchestrated work as "gay church folk music"; in fact, he has demonstrated an unusual penchant for using churches as settings for his concerts.

There's no word yet as to how the Pet Shop Boys became involved with "Colour of a Man," a song that first appeared in September 2009 on The Hidden Cameras' album Origin: Oprhan. In its original form, the track is dominated by Gibbs's strummed acoustic guitar, backed by string quartet, choir, and drums, the latter also played by Gibbs, a multi-instrumentalist. As for the "Pet Shop Boys Organic Mix," it surfaced quite unexpectedly—catching even the Boys themselves by surprise—nearly two years later, in June 2011, debuting on the Popjustice website. Neil, in a posting on their own website, said that he and Chris had done the remix "a few months" beforehand for Gibb, whom he described as their friend.

The remix totally transforms the track, retaining the vocals but completely eliminating the original instrumentation. In its place is an easygoing midtempo synthpop backing that, while by no means wholly alien to the Boys' own style, nevertheless sounds somewhat atypical for them—a little "cooler" and more laid-back than usual. As for the song's lyrics, I haven't yet had much success decyphering them aside from scattered, disjointed bits. One writer, however (Dave Simpson of The Guardian), has described them as concerning "the pain of being a notch on someone's bedpost."

Mixes/Versions

Officially released

Pet Shop Boys mixes only:

List cross-references