I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind Of Thing

Album: Very (1993)
Charted: 13
Play Video


  • In this upbeat dance-pop number, the normally reserved narrator openly shares his joy when he experiences the thrill of falling in love. Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant was inspired by a Jules Feiffer cartoon from London's Observer magazine that depicted a dancing lady. "I imagined myself as a Feiffer cartoon figure, going crazy with happiness," Tennant explained in his 2018 book, One Hundred Lyrics and a Poem. "Very mundane English expressions like, 'I wouldn't normally do this kind of thing,' are often a starting point for a lyric, in this song inspiring a contrast between high emotions and the reserved language used to express them."
  • Tennant came up with the title when he took an out-of-the-ordinary trip from London to Edinburgh and back again, all in one day. He thought, "I wouldn't normally do this kind of thing." When he couldn't get the phrase out of his mind, he brought the idea to Chris Lowe and they turned it into a song.
  • Tennant: "It's a funny song, but it's sincere. I'm so bored with people seeing us as ironic that I'm quite keen on being sincere at the moment."
  • The lovestruck Englishman claims, "I feel like taking all my clothes off, Dancing to the Rite of Spring." "The Rite of Spring" is an orchestral piece Russian composer Igor Stravinsky wrote for the 1910 Ballet Russes in Paris.
  • The simpler album version was remixed by the English electronic group The Beatmasters for the single release, giving it an energetic '60s vibe with more instrumentation in the mix. Aside from peaking at 13 in the UK, it hit #2 on the US dance chart.
  • Robbie Williams recorded this as the B-side to his 1998 single "Let Me Entertain You" from his debut album, Life Thru A Lens. His version was used on Friends when Monica and Ross try to get screen time on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve and Joey tries to get away from his dancing partner. The song was also included on the show's 1999 soundtrack, Friends Again.


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks


AC/DCFact or Fiction

Does Angus really drink himself silly? Did their name come from a sewing machine? See if you can spot the real stories about AC/DC.

Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde

Johnette Napolitano of Concrete BlondeSongwriter Interviews

The singer/bassist for Concrete Blonde talks about how her songs come from clairvoyance, and takes us through the making of their hit "Joey."

Tom Waits Lyrics Quiz

Tom Waits Lyrics QuizMusic Quiz

Pool balls, magpies and thorns without roses - how well do you know your Tom Waits lyrics?

Loreena McKennitt

Loreena McKennittSongwriter Interviews

The Celtic music maker Loreena McKennitt on finding musical inspiration, the "New Age" label, and working on the movie Tinker Bell.

Jonathan Cain of Journey

Jonathan Cain of JourneySongwriter Interviews

Cain talks about the divine inspirations for "Don't Stop Believin'" and "Faithfully."

Rufus Wainwright

Rufus WainwrightSongwriter Interviews

Rufus Wainwright on "Hallelujah," his album Unfollow The Rules, and getting into his "lyric trance" on 12-hour walks.