Sail Away

Writers - Noël Coward
First released - 1998
Original album - Twentieth-Century Blues (various artists)
Producer - Pet Shop Boys
Subsequent albums - Nightlife 2017 reissue Further Listening 1996-2000 bonus disc
Other releases - bonus track with the single "You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You're Drunk"

Neil is very much a fan of Noël Coward (the Boys having previously covered his "If Love Were All"), so it's not surprising that he should become the guiding force and producer of a charity album project consisting of various artists' interpretations of Coward songs. The resulting 1998 album, Twentieth-Century Blues, benefited AIDS research and relief. The Pet Shop Boys provided a recording of "Sail Away," a mellow rumination on middle age in which the narrator ponders the notion of "sailing away." This can be read both literally and metaphorically: a literal desire to retire to a pleasanter place as well as a metaphorical anticipation of decline and death as part of the natural process. Somber stuff, to be sure, but appropriate in its context.


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