You Choose

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

Neil has himself noted that this song expresses the exact opposite philosophy from that of "Love Comes Quickly." That is, the earlier song maintains that love happens to people unwillingly, without their consent. It's not a matter of choice. "You Choose," by contrast, states matter-of-factly that people do choose to fall in love. As a result, those who fall in love must accept responsibility for the measure of pain and sorrow that almost inevitably comes with it. "Choosing to love is risking a lot.… You take a chance and see it through."

Although the situation described in the song is one of losing in love because the other person didn't return that love, I can't help but think of the core message of the 1993 film Shadowlands starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger, in which death intercedes: "The pain now is part of the joy then. That's the deal." When you open yourself up to the great happiness of love, you also open yourself to great sorrow. You can't have one without the other. The best you can do is accept it and move forward.

As one of my email correspondents has pointed out to me, "You Choose" shares with the Nightlife track "Happiness Is an Option" the basic philosophy that everyone is ultimately responsible for his or her own feelings. That is, you may not always be able to control what happens to you, but you can control how you personally deal with it. This song's slow, melancholy, but very pretty melody and arrangement (more or less a traditional rock ballad, dominated by guitar) serves as the perfect vehicle for such a serious, somber message.

It's worth noting that the popular French singer Etienne Daho seriously considered recording a cover version of "You Choose" in 2003, perhaps with Neil and/or Chris guesting on the track. Daho reportedly regards it as a "perfect song." Although this recording and collaboration didn't materialize, Daho has expressed his hope that he will indeed have an opportunity to work with the Boys at some point.

List cross-references