Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - 1986
Original album - Please
Producer - Stephen Hague (album version); Julian Mendelsohn (single)
Subsequent albums - Disco, Discography, PopArt, Pandemonium, Ultimate, Smash
Other releases - single (UK #8, US #70, US Dance #46)

The Boys have described this song as an "epic of mad dogs and hooligans" that was inspired by a film of the same name by Penelope Spheeris about aimless, disillusioned young toughs running rampant in the suburbs of Los Angeles. Very much the urbanites, Tennant and Lowe use this track as an opportunity to express what they consider to be "the full horror" (as the subtitle of one of the remixes puts it) of suburban life, where nastiness and evil lurks just beneath a superficially attractive surface.

The dogs mentioned in the lyrics and whose barking frames the track probably symbolize the underlying bestialism of humanity; Neil has specifically described them as representing "the threat of violence." (Please see my annotations below. One site visitor has pointed out that wild dogs inhabiting the L.A. suburbs play a significant role in the Spheeris film. The opening scene, for instance, depicts a dog mauling a baby. This probably gave Chris and Neil the idea in the first place to use dogs so prominently in the song.)

The single version is a totally different recording than the album version, done with a different producer (Julian Mendelsohn as opposed to Stephen Hague) in an effort to increase its hit potential—as Neil has put it, "We made it much bigger sounding"—a gamble that paid off. "Suburbia" proved a very successful single in Britain, though somewhat less so in the States.

Chris has noted, by the way, that the bassline for this track is "virtually the same" as that of Madonna's "Into the Groove."



Officially released

Official but unreleased

List cross-references