The lyrics list a wide variety of serious political issues in the headlines at the time ("Dictation enforced in Afghanistan, revolution in South Africa taking a stand…"), and then offers the positive message of the title—that on its "timeless wavelength", "music is our life's foundation", it "shall last" and ultimately "succeed all the nations to come".
On the album (Introspective) version, the song concludes with a touch of doubt as Neil Tennant repeats (apparently over the telephone): "I hope it's gonna be alright". On the 10" single there are additional lyrics with Neil Tennant speaking: "there's a boy standing by a river, there's a girl lying with her lover, there's a statesman standing at a crossroads, there's a soldier polishing his gun".
The song was originally written and performed by Sterling Void & Paris Brightledge and came to the attention of Pet Shop Boys on a house compilation. In fact, Sterling Void remixed the track on the second 12", titled the "DJ International Mixes". Void's original version has only two verses (the first and third in the PSB version). The second verse of the Pet Shop Boys version, which expands the song's concerns beyond the purely political into environmental issues (specifically desertification), was written by Neil Tennant.
The single was originally released on the Introspective album, where it clocked in at over nine minutes. The song reached number 5 in the UK. As of February 2009, it is the Pet Shop Boys 8th best-selling single.