Song of the Day #1,573: ‘West End Girls’ – Pet Shop Boys

Given all of the sampling of 80s music done by modern rap artists, it’s refreshing to listen to an 80s song that was actually inspired by a rap hit.

Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, the writers and performers who made up Pet Shop Boys, have said that their 1985 hit ‘West End Girls’ drew inspiration from ‘The Message’ by Grandmaster Flash.

If you listen to it with that in mind, it totally makes sense.

The song’s lyrics were also modeled on T.S. Eliot’s classic poem ‘The Waste Land,’ no doubt marking the first marriage of those particular influences (cue a commenter pointing out an obscure Euro-pop song based on Faust and Run DMC).

I’ve always enjoyed this song in the way I enjoy most 80s songs… not quite sure if it’s because the music is any good or simply because it sounds like the 80s.

Sometimes you’re better off dead
There’s a gun in your hand it’s pointing at your head
You think you’re mad, too unstable
Kicking in chairs and knocking down tables
In a restaurant in a West end town
Call the police there’s a mad man around
Running down underground
To a dive bar in a West end town

In a West end town a dead end world
The East end boys and West end girls
In a West end town in a dead end world
The East end boys and West end girls
West end girls

Too many shadows whispering voices
Faces on posters too many choices
If when why what how much have you got
Have you got it do you get it
If so how often
Which do you choose
A hard or soft option
(How much do you need)

In a West end town a dead end world
The East end boys and West end girls
In a West end town in a dead end world
The East end boys and West end girls
West end girls.

(How much do you need)

In a West end town a dead end world
The East end boys and West end girls
Ooh a West end town in a dead end world
The East end boys and West end girls
West end girls.

You got a heart of glass or a heart of stone
Just you wait till I get you home
We’ve got no future
We’ve got no past
Here today built to last
In every city and every nation
From Lake Geneva to the Finland station
(How far have you been)

In a West end town a dead end world
The East end boys and West end girls
In a West end town in a dead end world
The East end boys and West end girls
West end girls.

West end girls
West end girls

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3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,573: ‘West End Girls’ – Pet Shop Boys

  1. Dana says:

    This one falls into the category of euro pop that i do not like. I do find the cultural influences somewhat fascinating though.

  2. Andrea Katz says:

    T.S. Elliot reference?…That’s why I read this blog…love it! AQlways enjoyed this song too.

  3. pegclifton says:

    I agree with Andrea, you can learn so much from reading this blog, and not just about the music–T.S. Elliot indeed!

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