Occupy Your Mind
by Dusty Springfield

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - 1990
Original album - Reputation (Dusty Springfield)
Producer - Julian Mendelsohn, Pet Shop Boys
Subsequent albums - (none)
Other releases - (none)

Perhaps the only song that the Boys have together written for someone else in which the hand of Chris is far more obvious than that of Neil. This is not to suggest that Chris hasn't been much involved in their various third-party collaborations, but rather that his apparent dominance has never been more assured than it is here.

This track is interesting in a number of other ways as well. For one thing, it's about as mystical as the Pet Shop Boys get. It also directly addresses the listener—a rare thing in their songs, which usually deal with the first- and second-person relationships of various characters or "dramatic personae." We are advised to "find another meaning," to experience and believe in a feeling as a way of surviving "in a world so confused."

According to Pet Shop Boys, Literally, this song grew out of an "acid house snippet" that Chris played on their 1989 tour following "Domino Dancing." Paul Howes, in his 2002 book The Complete Dusty Springfield, elaborates on this when he cites Neil as stating that it was inspired by the popular "Sunrise Raves" that took place in the U.K. during the mid- and late-1980s. The throbbing, extremely techno-oriented music (even by PSB standards) is mechanistic yet hypnotic. In fact, it is that hypnotic quality that is at the heart of this song. If people can engage in transcendental meditation while dancing, this is the music they'd be dancing to.

In the April 2019 BBC2 radio documentary Definitely Dusty, Neil and Chris revealed a pair of remarkable facts about this song. Neil noted that Dusty asked him whether the lyrics were drug-related, to which he replied, on the contrary, they were inspired by a medieval religious text (!). And Chris said that, not only was he especially fond of Dusty's vocal for "Occupy Your Mind," but that it was one of his all-time favorite songs they had written.

All in all, a fascinating track.


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