To Face the Truth

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - 1990
Original album - Behaviour
Producer - Harold Faltermeyer, Pet Shop Boys
Subsequent albums - (none)
Other releases - (none)

"It hurts too much to face the truth," sings Neil, which is especially true when the truth you're facing up to is either the disintegration of a love relationship or, as Neil described it in One Hundred Lyrics and a Poem, "unrequited love." This sad midtempo song—which the Boys had written back in 1984, when they were still working with their original producer, Bobby 'O' Orlando—covers similar territory as another older "resurrected" number, "Jealousy," at the end of the same album. Both songs, for instance, describe the narrator lying alone in bed late at night, his lover out with someone else. But this one does so in a gentler, more poignant manner.

You get the distinct impression that, although he's noting how difficult it is to confront the facts, he is in fact now doing so and is preparing himself to move forward in his life without his erstwhile lover. "I know it's time I should grow up," he says. So, in the song's final verse, he tells his lover that, although he's still in love with her (in the booklet that accompanied the 2001 reissue, Neil states flatly that this song tells "a heterosexual story"), he's going to end the relationship. And when he asks her if she cares, it's her turn to face the truth.

Ingeniously, Neil leaves us hanging as to precisely which truth she is now forced to confront. Does she care that the narrator is breaking off their relationship, or doesn't she? But Neil later summarized (again in the 2001 reissue booklet) the basic truth to be faced in this song: "that the person you're in love with is not in love with you."


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