E-mail

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - 2002
Original album - Release
Subsequent albums - (none)
Other releases - (none)

This seems like a surprisingly direct track on an album with so many others that work on multiple levels. Appropriately enough, it opens with sounds that suggest logging on to the Internet and downloading files, but perhaps the most striking thing about it musically is its use of the familiar "West End Girls" chord progression (different instrumentation, different tempo, but the same chords), here backing the at least slightly ironic refrain of "Send me an e-mail that says 'I love you.'" As with the album's opener "Home and Dry," this one concerns lovers who are separated by distant miles. But this time the narrator seems a little less confident of his partner's true feelings. Extolling the virtues of modern digital technology, which makes "time and distance melt away" and facilitates communication among those who are ordinarily very shy, he asks for a simple affirmation: "I'm so insecure—but one thing would make me sure." It's delightful that the Pet Shop Boys could turn the seemingly cold, technological subject of email into such a warm, lovely little song.

Incidentally, one of my own email correspondents has pointed out a probably unintentional irony about this song: that in the spring of 2000 a nasty computer virus was going around, spread via e-mails whose subject line read, "I Love You." Surely the Boys wouldn't knowingly invite a computer virus!

Mixes

Officially released

Official but unreleased

List cross-references