Home and Dry
The first track on and first single from Release, this song introduces that album's new sound for the Boys right off the bat. The instrumental backing is very much that of a "traditional rock group," including real (not synthesized) drums with a steady midtempo beat, a staccato synth ostinato ("music terminology shorthand" for a continuous repetition of a short melodic line consisting of disconnected notes) vaguely reminiscent of the guitar on Police's "Every Breath You Take," a pair of electric guitar solos (gasp!), and a much subtler use of synthesizers and samplers than usual for the Boys. Chris is quite pleased with the fact that he and Neil met the challenge of developing an entire song, with several different melodic threads, around a single riff (the aforementioned ostinato).
The lyrics are quite direct, poignant in their simplicity. They're permeated by a mood of mild anxiety arising from the long-distance separation of lovers and transatlantic airplane flightsa mood that Neil concedes has taken on new weight in the aftermath of September 11, though he wrote the words beforehand. The narrator misses his lover, who is far away on business, and looks forward to the day when he's "home and dry." (The expression "home and dry" is apparently unfamiliar to some; it simply means "safe and sound," with the word "dry" referring to one's being "out of the rain," so to speak.) In the meantime, he eagerly awaits his lover's phone call: "You know I'll be here when you call tonight." There's obviously a high measure of trust between these two, and an air of loving confidence pervades the track.
The bridge (in which those "phone lines" are sung) features digital vocal trickery reminiscent of Cher's "Believe"a gimmicky element that nevertheless works quite effectively in the context of this song. Chris's spoken "We're going home" near the end of the song is a conscious nod to Paul McCartney's matching spoken words at the end of the Beatles track "Two of Us."
- Shortly after this song was released, online PSB fan-forums saw scattered discussions about the title; non-native English-speakers were perplexed as to its meaning. "Home and dry" is quite simply an English-language idiomatic expression that means pretty much the same thing as "safe and sound," though specifically when one is now safe at home. The "dry" part of the expression refers to being safe from the elements, such as stormy weather. U.K. singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty also used the same expression as the title of one of his own hit songs back in 1978. The phrase (at least used in a manner and with a meaning resembling its contemporary usage) isn't nearly as old as one might think, however. Some sources trace it back only to the mid-twentieth century, although my own online research has found instances from the late nineteenth century—plus one "borderline" modern-style usage from the 1850s—but none older than that.
- "There's a plane at JFK" – John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, popularly known by the abbreviation JFK, named for the 35th President of the United States shortly after his 1963 assassination. (Before then it was New York International Airport.)
- "We're going home" – These words uttered by Chris near the end of the song are a homage to and quotation from the 1969 Beatles song "Two of Us," written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon-McCartney), for which they serve as the concluding line of the refrain.
- Mixer: Michael Brauer
- Album version (4:21)
- Radio Edit (3:59)
- Acapella (2:59)
- Mixer: Pete Gleadall and Pet Shop Boys
- Ambient Mix (5:29)
- Available on the Release "Special Edition" bonus disc
- Mixer: Piet Blank and Jaspa Jones
- Blank & Jones Remix (aka Second Trance Mix) (6:36)
- Available on the Release "Special Edition" bonus disc and on Disco 3
- Blank & Jones Radio Mix (3:40)
- Blank & Jones Dub Mix (6:50)
Official but unreleased
- Mixer: unknown
- Demo (4:26)
- DB New Bass Mix
- DJHT Mix
- Dusan Go to Hell Mix
- Mixer: Chris Zippel
- Extended Version (4:59)
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