Wednesday, January 27, 2021

"One Thing Leads to Another" (1993)


After the explosion of dance fury in "Go West" and Relentless, "One Thing Leads to Another" shambles in amiably enough to finish things off, with assurance and tinkling bells set to a walking pace. We know this Pet Shop Boys play: the ubiquitous bland idiom for title, Neil Tennant nattering his mutter-rappy shtick on the verses (see also "West End Girls"), the magnificent turn to wide vista in the chorus. "And oh my God if you have just discovered / The way that one thing can lead to another / Yeah, oh yeah." It's quite a big moment. What's it about? A story told backwards, they say: in the first verse, if you can make it out (try headphones maybe), a man dies. The things that led to it are covered in subsequent verses. "And the job begins to suffer" is a marker point, but the tone remains matter of fact. Full disclosure, in all my years of infatuation with the Very Relentless package I never picked up on this narrative. It was a YouTube comment what hepped me. What I've known are the sonic pleasures, the layers of sound and stoic beat comforting after the foregoing fray. "Yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah" it goes, soothing to sing with even if it loses its way some getting to six minutes. Indeed, we have been seeing earliest glimpses of the Pet Shop Boys as they enter a kind of refurbishing mode, which more and more would dominate their songwriting (though paradoxically with a good deal of range). Here at the end of the feature-length presentation of the combined A and B discs of Very Relentless, "One Thing Leads to Another" works well as a kind of wind-down credits roll. What may be most remarkable of all is arguably beside the point, which is that for once the comments on a YouTube video turned out to be enlightening and interesting.

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