One Thing Leads to Another

Writers - Lowe/Tennant
First released - 1993
Original album - Relentless
Producer - Pet Shop Boys
Subsequent albums - (none)
Other releases - (none)

The only full-fledged "vocal" track on Relentless, this song also boasts one of the most ingenious lyrical concepts in the PSB corpus. Based on the idea that when a person dies his life flashes before his eyes, the lyrics describe, line-by-line in reverse order, the sequence of events leading up to the protagonist's death. Among these events is his picking up a woman at a bar and going home with her, only to discover with dismay that actually "she's a man"—a discovery that leads directly to his fatal car crash.

Neil "raps" the verses of this densely produced track, but he sings the chorus. I especially love the dramatic instrumental "layering" effect employed during the extended coda, which lends it an almost epic quality.

The Boys had considered an earlier, officially unreleased version with somewhat different lyrics as a possible candidate for single release, with a particular eye toward the U.S. market. The basic story in this alternate version is the same—the events that lead up to the unfortunate guy's death—but they're stated in the "correct" chronological order. It makes much more sense, but also becomes considerably less interesting. As is so often the case, Neil and Chris took the unexpected, more challenging, but aesthetically superior course of action with the final released version.

The obscurity at one time of this marvelous song, tucked away on a limited-edition release that was for nearly 30 years no longer commercially available, earned it (at least in this writer's opinion) the title of "The Great 'Lost' PSB Track." Will the 2023 reissue of Relentless now rescue it from obscurity and bring it the much wider attention it deserves? We can only hope so.



Officially released

Official but unreleased

List cross-references