In a perfect world, if a generically ironic dance-pop duo decided to make an irritating, irrelevant cover of an overrated country song, a giant hammer would descend from the heavens and smite them before the first TR-808 pattern could be programmed. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that perfect world and no one thought to stop the Pet Shop Boys from giving us this wretched piece of tripe.
Where can I begin to describe the deep hurting inherent in this song? How about the singing? Neil Tennant isn’t known for his dulcet tones, and this song highlights everything that is wrong without his voice without playing to any of his strengths. Emotional content is supplanted by a reedy whine that has neighborhood dogs howling for mercy. Clever lyrics are eschewed for banal country cliches. By the time he gets to “Teeeeeell meeeee…”, any right-minded individual has either run screaming from the room or ruptured her own eardrums.
And can we discuss how horrible the music is? Apparently K-Mart was having a sale on tacky synth modules the week before the Boys went into the studio and Chris Lowe just couldn’t contain himself. How many overblown, blaring fake horns does one song need? In the words of my little sister, “Mommy, make the bad men stop!”
All of this might be salvageable if something interesting was going on in the rhythm section. Unfortunately, octave leaps on the root of the chord framed by the 4/4 beat that comes out when you press “Disco” on your mother’s old Casio doesn’t quite qualify as “interesting”. “Unforgivable” would be a better word.
If you must listen to a PSB cover, get “Where The Streets Have No Name/Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You”. This is also a terrible song, but at least it does something that improves on the source material. (Of course, twelve minutes of farting would be an improvement on U2’s “Where The Streets Have No Name”, but that’s a rant for a later day.)