Love Life

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - 2003 (Alcazar); 2010 (PSB)
Original album - Alcazarized (Alcazar); Release 2017 reissue Further Listening 2001-2004 bonus disc (Pet Shop Boys)
Producer (PSB version) - Pet Shop Boys
Subsequent albums - (none)
Other releases - single (Alcazar); limited-edition single (PSB, U.K., didn't chart)

This song was originally titled "Can I Be the One?" and was first recorded by the Pet Shop Boys in 2001 during the Release sessions. They thought poorly of it, however; Neil even later dismissed it as "rubbish.… like a boy band song." Yet they obviously regarded it highly enough to turn it over to someone else to record. (More about that in just a moment.) And the Boys eventually came to think even better of it. They decided in 2010 to make their own rendition of the song the a-side of a special limited-edition vinyl single released exclusively through U.K. independent record shops as part of the April 17 "Record Store Day" promotion. ("A Powerful Friend" serves as the b-side.) As such it's surely destined to become one of the most highly collectible PSB releases, although the inclusion of both songs as bonus tracks with the 2017 album reissues may diminish just how collectible that single continues to be.

Going back a few years, Neil and Chris loved the song "Crying at the Discoteque" by the Swedish band Alcazar from the moment they heard it. Later, as reported by the official PSB site, the Boys met the members of Alcazar in 2002 when they (Alcazar, that is) were performing in London. Alcazar came right out and asked for a new song, and our heroes graciously complied with their apparent "reject," provided in the form of a demo driven by prominent rhythm guitar (either real or sampled). Now retitled "Love Life," the track was produced by Alcazar's fellow Scandinavian(s) Vacuum—either primarily or exclusively Mattias Lindblom—who did a marvelous job of channeling the "PSB sound" through the medium of Alcazar. In fact, the Alcazar rendition is closely modeled on the Boys' demo, though somewhat elaborated with additional effects and instruments, including syndrums. It appears on their album Alcazarized, released in Sweden in mid-May 2003, and was also released as a single there a week after the album. It then faced a long, slow chart climb, but by early November it had reached its peak of #10 on the Swedish singles chart.

In the lyrics—simple and direct, written in the first and second persons—the narrator suggests a long-term love affair with the person to whom he's singing. He's lonely and senses that his prospective lover is, too. "Can I propose a new solution—a revolution for you and me?" Then comes the chorus, composed simply of the repeated line "Can I be the one to share your love life?" (hence the song's original title). After another verse in which the narrator suggests that the two of them live together, we get to perhaps the most interesting part of the song: a bridge in the style of a personal ad. "I'm tall and presentable, well-dressed and clean … with a good sense of humor … non-smoking …" and so on. A delightful lyrical conceit.



Officially released

Alcazar rendition:

PSB rendition:

List cross-references