One Night

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - 2012
Original album - Fundamental 2017 reissue Further Listening 2005-2007 bonus disc
Producer - Pet Shop Boys
Subsequent albums - (none)
Other releases - bonus track with the single "Memory of the Future"

The Pet Shop Boys originally composed and demoed this song in 2007, offering it to Kylie Minogue. She decided against recording it, however. So, after sitting on it for a few years, they re-recorded and released it themselves at the end of 2012 as one of the bonus tracks with their single "Memory of the Future."

A midtempo ballad that focuses on how, as the lyrics put it, "one night can change your life," this song encourages us, when the opportunity for love presents itself, to "grab it with both hands." In some ways it almost seems an update of the standard "Some Enchanted Evening" from the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific, right down to the shared nighttime settings, the reference to a glance from across "a crowded room," and the later mention of "strangers" as potential sources of love. (As Hammerstein had put it, "You may see a stranger across a crowded room.") And like its South Pacific predecessor, it's an extremely romantic song—doubly so in that it romanticizes the concept of romance itself, though without as much of the older song's evocative emotionalism. Yet both come with an underlying warning: if you don't grasp love while you can, you may miss out on it altogether.

For all of its romanticism, it's a surprisingly straightforward track with an extremely direct message. What I personally find most interesting (aside from the aforementioned topical similarity to "Some Enchanted Evening") is the concluding couplet:

One night can last forever
One night you're one half of together

The first half of the couplet recalls the early PSB song "Tonight Is Forever," which took a somewhat subversive, anti-romantic view of love as fraught with danger. But the second half rejects that old anti-romanticism, instead embracing romance full-on with a delightful figure of speech ("one half of together") that states how a person can suddenly be transformed from being completely alone to being part of a couple. And that message lies at the very heart of this song: the sudden, transformational power of love.

List cross-references