The Patience of a Saint
by Electronic

Writers - Sumner/Marr/Tennant/Lowe
First released - 1991
Original album - Electronic (Electronic)
Producer - Bernard Sumner, Johnny Marr
Subsequent albums - (none)
Other releases - (none)

Although Neil has written and/or recorded several songs with Johnny Marr and Bernard Sumner as part of their Electronic project (most notably the superb single "Disappointed," on which Neil sings lead), this cut from the 1991 Electronic album is the only one (so far) on which both Neil and Chris are co-writers and performers. Thus it merits inclusion here as a "Pet Shop Boys track." The narrator (or, as we shall see, narrators) of this song is something of a bastard, set in his carefree ways, who admits that he's difficult to live with. "How could I change? I live without restraint." Knowing himself as well as he does, he concedes (perhaps with some misplaced pride) that he "would try the patience of a saint."

Interestingly, this song is a duet between Neil and Bernard Sumner. A duet between two men singing a song about a close personal relationship is eye-opening, to say the least. Of course, they may in fact be voicing the same character; that is, two singers, but only one persona. But if they are indeed singing two different dramatic parts, so to speak, then there's no avoiding the implications of this song as describing a gay relationship—in which case both men admit they're difficult to live with, that they would try the patience of a saint. Therefore, though they may be bastards, they're also saints for putting up with each other. And suddenly a song that previously sounded misanthropic, even antagonistic, becomes quite moving and poignant. In short, these two people, for better or worse, are made for each other.

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