To Speak Is a Sin

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - 1993
Original album - Very
Producer - Pet Shop Boys, Stephen Hague
Subsequent albums - (none)
Other releases - (none)

The Boys' somber depiction of the bar scene—the gay bar scene in particular, though they concede that it's a rather dated portrayal "now that everyone's out." The title line refers to the unwritten code of some bars (indeed, more so in the past than at present) that virtually forbids casual conversation. As Chris once put it, "I always thought it was about sad old lonely homosexuals not daring to talk to anyone attractive in a bar," to which Neil replied, "Yes, that's pretty much it."

Pervaded by an overwhelming sense of loneliness, echoed by a prominent solo soprano saxophone, this is one of Neil and Chris's slower, more downbeat tracks and seems somewhat out of place amidst the generally more "up" mood of Very. Sure enough, it's a surprisingly "old" song that the Boys wrote back in 1983, well before they had their first hit or even recording contract. Yet it provides a nice contrast with its surroundings and, in fact, boasts one of the loveliest melodies in the PSB canon.


Officially released

Official but unreleased

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