Tonight Is Forever

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - 1986
Original album - Please
Producer - Stephen Hague
Subsequent albums - (none)
Other releases - (none)

Absolutely subversive. It takes the old cliché about "love forever" and turns it completely on its head. Simultaneously a seduction and a threat, the narrator of this song both tempts and warns his prospective lover/victim as he describes how exciting, irresponsible, and tenuous life with him could be: "The money's short and time is tight …. I never have enough. It could be like this forever if we fall in love." The upbeat, danceable environment in which these lyrics are placed cleverly disguises their deeper implications, just as the narrator's carefree lifestyle hides the tremendous potential for self-destruction lurking just beneath the surface.

We don't need any more when we dance
I don't think of the future tonight

Ecstatically romantic, to be sure, but also frightening. And when Neil sings "Open the door, you hold the key," is it a plea to enter into love—or to escape from it? Maybe both. After all, we often find ourselves attracted to self-destructive behavior; if there weren't something terribly appealing about it, no one would succumb. This is the ambiguity that lies at the heart of this remarkable song.

It's hardly surprising that when Tennant and Lowe had Liza Minnelli cover this for her Results album, they slowed it down, added an orchestra, poured on the drama, and made it sound every bit as ominous as it truly is.

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