12 August 1996
‘Se a Vida é (That’s the way life is)’ was released as a single on August 12, 1996. On December 12th, 1994, during the ‘Discovery’ tour, Neil bought some Brazilian CDs at a record shop in Sao Paulo. Playing one of them – ‘Filhos Do Sol’ by Olodum – back in London, he was struck by the part of the song ‘Estrada Da Paixao’ which went ‘Se a Vida é…’ That became the basis of a new Pet Shop Boys song. “Having mistranslated the phrase as ‘that’s the way life is’ it means something like ‘if life is’ in Brazilian Portuguese dialect – I was thinking what the lyric was going to be about”, says Neil, “and a friend of mine at the time of writing this was very depressed about various things in his life, sitting around being miserable about the fact that his life is taking the wrong direction, and the lyric was trying to cheer him up. And it did, in fact. I thought about the line ‘life is much more simple when you're young’, a lot. Chris, of course maintains that life is more complicated when you’re young, and I sort of agreed with him for a while and I thought of changing it, but what I meant is that you see life as either black or white, you don't see the shading so much, so things appear totally depressing or totally wonderful”. A video for the song was filmed much earlier in the year; a wet, sensual romp shot at Wet ‘n' Wild theme park in Orlando, Florida, on January 21st. It is directed by Bruce Weber, only the second pop video he has ever made.