I Want a Lover

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - 1986
Original album - Please
Producer - Stephen Hague, Blue Weaver, Pet Shop Boys
Subsequent albums - (none)
Other releases - (none)

It has been observed that the Pet Shop Boys' first three albums (not counting Disco) as well as their Results collaboration with Liza Minnelli each feature a song whose title begins with the words "I Want" ("I Want a Lover," "I Want to Wake Up," "I Want a Dog," "I Want You Now"), thus signifying, at least in the mind of the commentator who first pointed out this fact, an apparent preoccupation with self—the implication being that this music stems from a selfish, self-centered worldview. I personally don't believe this is true; Neil and Chris have provided ample evidence, musical and otherwise, of not being particularly selfish. But we shouldn't overlook the possibility that they might often be using their music to comment on the selfishness and self-centeredness that they observe in the world around them.

But we digress. This is among the earliest PSB songs, written in 1983. To be blunt, "I Want a Lover" is pretty much a song about horniness, although it has an undercurrent of loneliness as well. The narrator isn't looking for love (at least not tonight), but rather for sex, and seeks someone else with precisely the same interests. Just thinking about it is an aphrodisiac: "This anticipation is a stimulation." Very hedonistic stuff—either that or, again, a commentary on hedonistic attitudes and behavior. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.

Early on it was reported that this lyric was written from a female perspective—Neil's willingness to approach subjects from the viewpoint of the opposite sex being a distinguishing hallmark even at this early stage in their career. But I personally don't detect anything in the text that necessarily suggests a "feminine" persona. In fact, Neil would later describe it as "us doing gay disco—the words are completely about going to a club and picking up someone." He also noted that it was his and Chris's attempt to write a "sleazy" song.

It's perhaps especially noteworthy that on this track Neil plays bass guitar and Chris plays trombone.

Mixes

Officially released

Official but unreleased

List cross-references