Cricket Wife

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - 2021
Original album - (none)
Producer - Pet Shop Boys
Subsequent albums - (none)
Other releases - (none)

This song, scheduled for release in May 2021 on a special two-track CD single included with the 2021 edition of the Pet Shop Boys' fan publication Annually, was written and recorded by Chris and Neil at their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. As they stated on their official website, Chris composed the music as a "classical-style" instrumental, to which Neil then added lyrics drawn from a poem he had previously written. The resulting recordings were then mixed into a final track by their longtime musical associate Pete Gleadall.

Described by the Boys as "dramatic," including "orchestral sounds" (presumably samples), and nearly ten minutes in length, it promises to be one of the most unusual songs in the PSB catalogue.

The term "cricket wife" is generally used to refer to the spouses of U.K. cricketers—that is, cricket players. Around the world, the wives and girlfriends of high-profile male (and often quite wealthy) professional sports figures are very often themselves thrust into the public spotlight, becoming the subjects of rumor, gossip, fashion magazines, and tabloid reporting. While in the United States this phenomenon is usually manifested as "basketball wives" and, only a little less often, "baseball wives" and "football wives," in the U.K. it's most frequently associated with the sports of soccer, rugby, and, indeed, cricket. Of course, the term "cricket wife" doesn't necessarily refer to the spouse of a professional cricketer; it applies to amateurs as well. It can also be used to refer to the wife of a cricket fan as well, particularly one who may seem even more devoted to the sport than he is to his wife. Whatever the case, it remains to be seen how it will be used in the song and where Neil's lyrics "go" with it, so to speak.

I've received some third-hand information—from the friend of a relative of Neil's—that Neil had told him that the lyrics of this song were inspired by his mother. Assuming this is true, does that mean that Neil believes his mother was a "cricket wife"? Or perhaps she inspired the song in some other way. To know any more than this, we'll have to wait until the song is released and we can hear the lyrics for ourselves and/or Neil offers some public commentary of his own along these lines.

As a couple of my site visitors have pointed out—which I had already suspected but didn't yet know for sure—the braided knit fabric depicted in the single's artwork, designed as usual for PSB releases by Mark Farrow, is that of a regulation cricket jumper (or "sweater" as my fellow Americans and I would much more likely refer to it).

I'll provide additional details here as they become available.

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