Vulnerable

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - 2009
Original album - Yes
Producer - Brian Higgins, Xenomania
Subsequent albums - (none)
Other releases - (none)

We might view this as the flipside of "Beautiful People." It deals with the challenges of being a public figure while simultaneously trying to live a relatively normal life, feeling the need to mask one's true feelings behind a public and/or artistic façade. If he's truly speaking from his own experience, this may be one of Neil's most personally revelatory lyrics:

I know the assumption is that I'm tough
With all my anger that's fair enough
Even with friends I have to compete
But try being me when you walk down the street

Neil has said that the song's narrative persona isn't he himself, but rather an unnamed friend—"a famous woman"—although he also admits, "It probably really is about me." The narrator reveals that he's actually a very vulnerable person, and specifically that he's "vulnerable without you," the person to whom the song is ostensibly addressed. Even the richest, most famous, most successful, most glamorous, and most powerful among us are ultimately human beings who need personal security and protection. When you get right down to it, in some ways they're even more insecure, in even greater need of protection, than the rest of us. As public figures, they are "bigger targets" to physical and psychological attack than most of us who lead far less public lives. To such a person, the security and comfort of someone who truly loves them for who they are—not for who they appear to be to the outside world—must seem all the more precious.

In their audio commentary on the album, Neil and Chris verified the musical influence on "Vulnerable" of the huge international hit from the late eighties, "Voyage Voyage," by the French singer Desireless (née Claudie Fritsch-Mentrop). Their record company had also apparently suggested that they record it as a duet with Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the wife of the French president, who had enjoyed a career as a singer before their marriage. The Boys, however, ruled against that particular option.

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