Being Boring

Album: Behaviour (1990)
Charted: 20

Songfacts®:

  • Pet Shop Boys lead singer Neil Tennant, who wrote the lyric to "Being Boring," was interviewed on British TV's The South Bank Show in October 1991, where he talked about this song: "A lot of songs come about personal experience. The song 'Being Boring,' which I think is one of our best songs... I was reminded of a party we had when I was living in Newcastle as a teenager, and it quoted the Zelda Fitzgerald quote: 'She was never bored mainly because she was never boring.' A very good friend of my from that era, my best friend really, had died of AIDS. So it was a kind of an elegy for him, for the part of myself in Newcastle, all my friends in Newcastle when I went to London, then what I was doing then and he wasn't there. And so it became a really elegiac song."
  • The double CD About (The Pet Shop Boys) containing a BBC Radio 1 documentary about the duo had the following commentary on "Being Boring":

    Neil Tennant: "This was just the period where Kylie Minogue made her best records, you know, like 'Better The Devil You Know.' To me, actually 'Being Boring' was also an attempt to do a Stock-Aitken-Waterman thing, believe it or not. We were always fascinated about the way Stock-Aitken-Waterman would change key for choruses. And so to be musical about it, the verse of 'Being Boring' was in A minor or D minor, maybe, after we went up a semitone into A flat for the chorus. Which we would never have done before. It wasn't an attempt to be mature, it was actually an attempt to be like Stock-Aitken-Waterman.

    Maybe one reason the album being melancholy was my friend, Chris Dowell, dying as well. He died in 1989 and 'Being Boring' was kind of about him. I don't think he really cast the shadow on the whole album, maybe set a mood that we followed through.

    'Being Boring' was about three phrases of our life. The first verse is all my friends in Newcastle, and this friend of mine was one of them. It just described that what we and our aspirations were. And then the second verse I moved to London with an idea to go to Polytechnic. And it describes an excitement of that. And then the third verse is looking back at what's happened and I'm doing what I'm doing, and he's dead. I mean, it's quite simple. When you got your best friend you just know he'll always be around, and that not being the case."
  • Before life as a Pet Shop Boy, Neil Tennant wrote for Smash Hits magazine, where he reviewed albums and concerts. In this world of music journalism, one of the most devastating critiques that could be leveled on an act was "boring." One of the groups Tennant accused of inciting boredom was Culture Club.
  • For the Behaviour album, the group's third, Pet Shop Boys got some help from keyboard maestro Harold Faltermeyer ("Axel F") who produced it with the group.
  • The black-and-white video is stocked with attractive young people who are certainly not being boring. One of them is Eagle-Eye Cherry, who had a hit in 1998 with "Save Tonight." Bruce Weber, who also did Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game," was the director.

Comments: 2

  • Martin from London, United Kingdom7" edit - even at nearly 5 minutes it feels too tight, which I think partly explains its relatively ordinary chart positions.

    The 12" extended mix is, however, a sublime piece of work. The lyrics are touching and the instrumental section in the middle lifts it way above the 7" in my books.
  • Susan from AirdrieIn my opinion,this is their best song and best video ever. I think of it as an anthem to a time in my life, long past, but which was one of the happiest times. It's funny about Neil Tennant's comments because I feel that it's a wistful song; happy yet mournful at the same time.
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