By Mark Nobes

Ah, yes. It's the one with the barking hounds in the intro, Neil's eerie spoken vocal and the dramatic build-up. Released on 22nd September 1986, "Suburbia" was Pet Shop Boys fourth and last single to be released from their debut album Please. The song reached #8 in the UK, but was also a top ten hit in many European countries. although in the U.S. it stalled at #70.

The song's lyrics were inspired by the movie of the same name, which depicted the violence and tension of life in LA for suburban punks who squat in abandoned homes. Inspiration also came from the Brixton riots of the early eighties in England.

You can listen to Julian Mendelsohn's Full Horror Mix further down the page, which was originally included on the remix album Disco.
The B-side to the 7" single was "Paninaro", whilst the 12" included The Full Horror version of "Suburbia", "Paninaro", and "Jack The Lad". The cassette single (remember them?) only had the 7" version of the A-side and the two extra tracks featured on the 12" vinyl, plus, the Shep Pettibone mix of the previous hit single "Love Comes Quickly"
The Guardian ranked "Suburbia" at No.20 in their list Pet Shop Boys' 30 Greatest Songs - Ranked! which was published on June 8th 2023.

Photo: Double pack 1986 UK 7" vinyl sleeve. This featured five tracks including a shorter "early fade" version of the "Love Comes Quickly" remix that featured on the cassette single "Suburbia Part Two".

Suburbia vinyl sleeve front - Pet Shop Boys


The official video was directed by Eric Watson, who was seen as a safe pair of hands after directing "West End Girls" and "Opportunities". and features lots of suburban imagery, as you'd expect! It was filmed in two locations; suburbs of Los Angeles and Kingston-Upon-Thames in London.
It opens with several Rottweiler dogs running around in a suburban road. We then see Neil Tennant sitting in a very low and unusual straight position in a chair, which is almost corpse-like - you'll give yourself arthritis sitting like that, Neil! Chris Lowe walks past him with a baseball bat, but, thankfully, doesn't use it on Neil. Instead, he appears to be using it as defence against some supposedly vicious dogs, which includes a Rottweiler and German Shepherd, although it's obvious Chris is just playing with them.
After more suburban imagery, we eventually see Neil and Chris again sat on a sofa together in a living room full of boxes, which suggests they're just moved in. Later, they are sat outside on a red sofa with a German Shepherd sat in-between them. 


UK 7 Inch Vinyl - Parlophone - R 6140

A. "Suburbia" - 3:59

B. "Paninaro" - 4:37

UK 12 Inch Vinyl - 12R 6140

A. "Suburbia" (The Full Horror) - 8:55

B1. "Paninaro" - 4:37

B2. "Jack The Lad" - 4:30

UK Cassette EP - TCR 6140

A1. "Suburbia" - 3:59

A2. "Paninaro" - 4:37

B1. "Jack The Lad" - 4:30

B2. "Love Comes Quickly" - (Shep Pettibone Remix) - 6:18


A you'd expect, the lyrics are about living in the suburbs, and describe it an a negative light, depicting it as violent but also mundane, as in the opening verse "Stood by the bus stop with a felt pen, in this suburban Hell, and in the distance a police car to break the suburban spell. In the bridge, Neil sings my favourite line "I only wanted something else to do but hang around".
Pet Shop Boys Suburbia - Double Pack 1986 UK 7
Pet Shop Boys
Pet Shop Boys on the front cover of Smash Hits magazine 26th Feb to 8th March 1986

Neil and Chris gracing the front cover of Smash Hits in 1986