We Came from Outer Space

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

There's actually a lot of words here (making it, in a sense, even wordier than "One Thing Leads to Another" and "Forever in Love"), but they're extremely difficult to make out and may seem to exist more for the sounds they make than for any real meaning. If there is a meaning, it appears to have something to do with the kinds of verbal exchanges that might take place between earthlings and space-aliens who have just landed. Some of them are delightful, such as "You know the difference between the two genders? No."

In fact, that very exchange, as well as the repeated words "We came from outer space to—to our parents," has inspired one of my online correspondents to interpret this track (quite cleverly, I might add) as an ironic commentary on how LGBT people strike some heterosexuals—perhaps their own parents—as beings so different in certain ways (particularly regarding gender relationships and perceptions) that they might as well be from another world. Interestingly, this mirrors the common glam-rock "conceit that gayness is the stuff of science fiction" (as I put it on page 111 of my 1994 book Rock on the Wild Side), most notably employed by David Bowie and Jobriath, with its implied link between homo/bisexuality and space aliens. Think Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Another site visitor combined these two concepts—that is, of space aliens and gender distinctions—and wrote to share his interpretation of this track as "a harsh critique on arguable gender differences, which would be considered weird by aliens that would visit us—in fact, how everything would be considered weird."

The music, incidentally, features a repeating female vocal motif that sounds vaguely based on the old Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan vocal yell. Probably just a coincidence.

Getting back to the many vocal samples scattered throughout this track, some of them are very clearly Chris Lowe's own voice, most notably his repeated "Something's not right—I can't work it out" and "Don't leave me. I love you." Although I hesitate to delve into the specific meanings of these lines, particularly the latter, I can't help but observe that Chris's housemate (and rumored lover) Peter Andreas was in the late stages of his AIDS-related illness when Relentless was released and would pass away the following year.


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