Saturday, 3 November 2012

Electronic - Patience of a Saint

This is the more hidden of the three Electronic tracks that feature Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys. Its the only one that has always been an album track on Electronic's self titled debut, with previous single Getting Away With It only being added on the album on re-releases and Disappointed following some time after the album release. Despite some incorrect attributions, its the only song in the Electronic catalogue that is a full collaboration with Electronic and Pet Shop Boys, as its the only Electronic track that features Chris Lowe. Pet Shop Boys receive co-writing/co-performance credits on this track. The song is definitely a more darker and atmospheric track for Electronic I think. It has a very icy bass line that definitely makes the song have a foreboding atmosphere which is a perfect back-drop for the lyrics. Lyrically, the song is about someone who is an utter hell to live with, quite literally someone who tries "the patience of a saint". However, it might be about two people that are incredibly difficult to live with as opposed to just one. Both Neil Tennant and Bernard Sumner take co-lead on the track and thus it makes Patience of A Saint a duet. Perhaps most tellingly, out of the three Electronic songs that feature Neil, its the only one were they both share co-lead. Maybe that's coincidental but maybe it isn't. It's entirely plausible that the song only features one lyrical persona, so essentially Neil and Bernard are singing different sets of lyrics but the narrator is the same. Having said that, if they are indeed voicing two separate characters then the song is almost certainly about a gay relationship. Its not very obvious which of the two it is; I mean the song doesn't have lyrics that feel conversational between two different narrators. To be honest, both Bernard and Neil have very similar lyrics in terms of tone. If indeed it is two separate characters that Bernard and Neil are portraying then you get the idea that they are just perfect for each other. I mean both lyrical persona are self confessed as being hell to live with. In that cause although they drive the patience of a saint, they make themselves saints for having to put up with each other. It becomes quite moving then in that case I think, and its also a very clever and implicit way of showing how two people are made for each other. The song has one of my favourite sets of lyrics of all time for their ambiguity in this regard. If I'm honest, this was one of the songs on the debut album that I wasn't so fussed about. I just felt that it was lacking something compared to the other tracks on the album. Now though my opinion has completely changed with regards for the track. Not only is it one of the highlights of Electronic's discography (and their high point in terms of lyrics), I'd also say it has a certain quality that I'd find in the very best of Pet Shop Boys own discography. Believe me, I rate their best work highly! An overlooked track with lyrics to think about in my opinion!

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