You Only Tell Me You Love Me
When You're Drunk

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - 1999
Original album - Nightlife
Producer - Pet Shop Boys, Craig Armstrong
Subsequent albums - PopArt, Concrete, Smash
Other releases - single (UK #8)

The third and final single from Nightlife and yet another in the Boys' tradition of exceptionally lengthy song titles. Much has been made of the fact that this is the closest our heroes have come so far to releasing a country-and-western track, what with its steel guitar (played by studio musician B.J. Cole), prominent acoustic guitar (the latter played by Neil in live performances), and essentially stereotypical "country" subject matter and mood. You might say this is the sort of song that a country artist might perform if he wanted to dip his toes into a bit of techno. In fact, more than one artist has covered it in an even more pronounced country style.

All C&W stuff aside, this is actually one of the more moving songs on the album, with a genuinely touching lyric that Neil has stated was "based on personal experience." It fairly drips with pathos, so much so that it skirts precipitously along the edge of descending into comedy. There can, after all, be a fine line between the comic and the tragic. Although it might have proven a very, very dark comedy indeed, the Boys avoid it with their guileless delivery, devoid of even a trace of irony. This somber, almost tragicomic quality is underscored by the single's superb music video, which features Neil and Chris lying amidst a crowd of bodies that suddenly rise and dance, only to collapse again, marionette-like, near the song's conclusion.

This song was at one time planned for the musical Closer to Heaven, to be sung by the gay club-owner to his "rough trade" boyfriend—a character who was dropped from the plot, resulting in the deletion of this song as well. An intriguing sidenote is that, much to nearly everyone's surprise, "Drunk" made it into the UK Top 10 despite the fact that the album's two preceding singles failed to do so. It's possible that the sheer novelty of hearing the Pet Shop Boys in this "semi-country mode"—plus the sheer excellence of the song itself—gave the single that little extra boost it needed.



Officially released

Official but unreleased

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