Did You See Me Coming?Did You See Me Coming?

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - 2009
Original album - Yes
Producer - Brian Higgins, Xenomania
Subsequent albums - Pandemonium, Smash
Other releases - single (UK #21; US Dance #1)

To borrow another writer's perfect summation, this is "unashamedly sunny pop." It brings a smile to your face just listening to it. So it may not be terribly surprising that it should become the album's second single, despite the fact that it had been previously "given away" on the Pet Shop Boys Story promo disc.

The song opens with Johnny Marr's strummed guitar, which quickly gets overwhelmed by other instruments while still providing the song's rhythmic underpinning. Neil sounds disarmingly (and surprisingly) wide-eyed and guileless when he sings such lines as:

I'd love to be loved by you
Did you see me coming?
Was I that obvious?

In many ways, this song is a less romantic, much lighter, breezier take on "It Always Comes as a Surprise": the sheer wonder of falling in love. Or, in this case, "love" may be somewhat premature. More aptly, it's the wonder and joy of finding that someone you're attracted to is equally attracted to you. While that may sound a tad naive, I think it's a type of naïveté to which all of us—even those of us quite experienced in such relationships—may nevertheless succumb. Physical attraction can potentially reduce (or, depending on your perspective, elevate) even the most jaded among us to the emotional level of a giddy teenager.

Although it's surely not what the song is "about," it's possible that some of the sentiments expressed in it were influenced or informed by the relationship of Neil and Chris themselves as a songwriting duo, professional partners, and friends. The music video, with its focus on just the two of them—or, in the words of the chorus itself, "just the two of us"—suggests as much, as some fans have observed. The reference in the lyric to fate is particularly poignant in this regard. Both Neil and Chris have commented more than once on the sheer luck of the two of them meeting by the merest of chances, an event that only retrospection reveals was momentous. Looking back, it seems as if fate brought them together.

The Pet Shop Boys' "Possibly More Mix" of the song (available as a bonus track with the single release) not only extends the track to nearly nine minutes but also adds quite a few new lyrics. They make the "sexual dimension" of the song even more overt, emphasizing how people of all orientations seek each other out "for friendship—or [as Chris interjects] possibly more." One of my site visitors has insightfully noted that many of these new lines—"Men seeking women," "Men seeking men," and so on, as well as that "for friendship—or possibly more" line—are virtually lifted from newspaper and magazine personal ads. In that case, was the personal encounter central to the song as "accidental" as we first thought? Was it actually pre-arranged? Another new line, the recurring "Every night is Friday night—welcome to my life," employs an especially telling metaphor to suggest that the narrator is perpetually on the lookout for someone for that aforementioned friendship or possibly more. Considering the "Friday might" metaphor and those personal-ad lines, "possibly" may be a bit demure. "Probably" is more like it.

The title line, incidentally, comes from an expression that was often used by Neil's mother when she thought he'd been taken advantage of, such as if she felt he'd been overcharged for something: "They must have seen you coming."



Officially released

List cross-references