A relatively ignored album track from Very. Originally I felt that this song was a weak spot on the album. Very is full of mainly upbeat tracks, so originally I felt it didn't fit. It definitely goes against the grain of the album in both tone and lyrical theme. Now I would say it's one of my favourite tracks from the album and one of my favourite Pet Shop Boys songs! Stylistically, the track has a rather stark resemblance to a Very era instrumental demo called Playing Hard To Get. However, Playing Hard To Get definitely is not a demo of To Speak Is A Sin. To Speak Is A Sin is actually an old song, even older than Its A Sin, written in 1983 on the same day that an unreleased song called In The Club or In The Queue was written. That almost certainly goes some way to explain why To Speak Is A Sin is rather different from the other tracks on Very, given it was recorded ten years prior. As for Playing Hard To Get, I would say it's perfectly probable that the track was never developed because it's too similar in sound to To Speak Is A Sin. The song is about homosexuals in a bar, and feeling too nervous to talk to
anyone the person may find attractive, its got this lonely/desperate
feel to it and I think the saxophone adds to that effect. Having said
that, the lyrics don't specify any particular sexualities so it's a
track anyone could identify with I think. As for other official versions such as remixes etc, there are none. However - the track was performed on their Discovery tour. Neil has stated that he prefers the keyboard line that replaced the saxophone in the live version. Personally I disagree -I think that's what makes the song. Originally, I used to think that the song didn't fit in with the album, but now I think it fits in really well. Its good to have a slower paced song mixed in with the faster tracks, but also I think it particularly compliments Go West. I mean that song is about aspiring to have an idealistic gay utopia, but I think To Speak Is A Sin presents the realism to balance that out possibly. Definitely an overlooked song though!