Ring Road

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - 2017
Original album - Fundamental 2017 reissue Further Listening 2005-2007 bonus disc
Producer - Pet Shop Boys
Subsequent albums - (none)
Other releases - (none)

Neil once described this as "a sort of rock song" that would likely see light as a b-side, which of course didn't turn out to be the case. He and Chris wrote it in two days, January 24-25, 2005, during the Fundamental sessions. They offered it to the distaff Swedish tribute band West End Girls to record, though apparently they never got around to doing so. The PSB demo was finally released in 2017 with the reissue of Fundamental.

It's a thoroughly ecstatic song, both musically and lyrically, expressing the tremendous exhilaration of being in love. First love is compared to what's commonly described in the States as a "Sunday drive"—a drive taken just for the sheer pleasure of driving. That includes the joys of finding a secluded place to stop the car to engage in what is generally known euphemistically (at least here in the States) as "parking":

We'll stop in a lay-by by the allotments
No one will see
Oh, I'll be so happy fooling around
Just you and me

Then the narrator notes how much he likes "riding dodgems," implicitly comparing the fun of fairgrounds bumper cars with the joy of love:

Oh, I'd be so happy bumping the cars
Being with you

That reference to "bumping" is rather suggestive, to say the least. Note, however, the tense of the verb: "I'd [that is, I would] be so happy." So maybe the narrator isn't yet absolutely confident that his feelings are real, or at least are completely shared by his partner. Looking back at the start of the song, we see the narrator imploring his lover, "Let's drive round the ring road." It's a suggestion, not a statement of fact. So the exhilaration he feels may only be one-sided; it's not so much the thrill of love actually experienced as it is the thrill of love anticipated. In somewhat typical PSB fashion, it's left open as to whether the object of this narrative—the person to whom it's addressed—will respond in kind.


List cross-references