Pet Shop Boys

What Have I Done to Deserve This?

Composed by Allee Willis / Chris Lowe / Neil Tennant

Song Review by

Though it received much attention for an inspired touch suggested by a worker in the duo's then-management office -- namely, to get blue-eyed soul legend Dusty Springfield on the performance to make it a duet -- "What Have I Done to Deserve This" would have been a winner on its own. One of the duo's instantly catchiest melodies, purely pop without losing the sense of dancefloor punch that has always driven the Pet Shop Boys, "What Have I Done to Deserve This" springs to life with a seemingly off-kilter drum break, then slides right into a smart, deceptively simple, and full-bodied combination of big drums and sparkling keyboards. Chris Lowe pulls back the arrangements at points just enough to make the keyboard's re-entrances all the more subtly dramatic. Neil Tennant's detailing of a relationship -- in his usual fashion, the back story is hidden (he claimed the man in the couple was "a pathetic feeble wreck" and the woman "a major capitalist") -- allows him to come up with some wryly killer lines. Credit to the song's co-writer Allee Willis, though, who came up with the "since you went away" part that Springfield went to town on, showing that she hadn't lost any of the beautiful power that had made her a legend. It's a contrast in vocal styles that theoretically shouldn't work, but which connects just right.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Actually 1987 EMI Music Distribution 4:22
Discography: The Complete Singles Collection 1991 EMI Music Distribution 4:19
Videography 1991 Picture
Mixes 1994 Hot Tracks 6:15
No Image 1998 EMI-Capitol Entertainment Prop.
Montage: The Nightlife Tour [Video] 2001 Sanctuary
PopArt: The Hits 2003 EMI Music Distribution / Parlophone
Together: Endless & Sweet Memories 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Performance: The Classic 1991 Live Show Enhanced [DVD] 2004 EMI Music Distribution / Parlophone
Life in Pop 2006 UMVD
Pandemonium 2010 Parlophone
Ultimate Pet Shop Boys 2010 EMI Music Distribution
No Image Hot Tracks 8:02
blue highlight denotes editor's pick