maxal

Pet Shop Boys as reviewed by maxal

April 29, 2020
The Hotspot album is a pleasant surprise. A good balance of dance tracks with, other, more romantic ones - the romantic tracks are my favourite.

In fact it's surprising there aren't more of the 'romantic' tracks represented in the singles (are the romantic ones less radio-suitable or maybe they don’t like remixing them?). There is Burning the Heather as a single, then all the other Hotspot singles are on the dancey side. On the ‘B side’ of I don’t Wanna there is another romantic track “New Boy” Yay! Shame it isn’t on the album too . . .

Will o the Wisp, Burning the Heather, New Boy, Hoping for a Miracle, Only the Dark ---> Yummy!

Wedding in Berlin is the dance track I would rather have seen as a 12”. It has a catchy, trainlike rhythm to it, and lends itself easily towards the anthemic. Imagine a wedding with this as its theme tune.
Mrmilano

Pet Shop Boys as reviewed by Mrmilano

February 1, 2020
YES, ELECTRIC, SUPER, HOTSPOT! these 4 albums are the revival of the Pet Shop Boys after a period of some darkness, that stated in 2001, and continued through 2006 with Release and Fundamental. They are catchy, danceable, and listenable anywhere. Great albums, and with over 30 years of making hits, seems that they are not easily going to stop. Hotspot, the latest addition to their massive catalogue shows us they are still very relevant today, and can compete in the charts with today's plastic pop and rap artists. that may be ahead in the charts, but are not as longeve as our Boys are. Long live the Pet Shop Boys!
dneaeade

Pet Shop Boys as reviewed by dneaeade

September 28, 2016
edited over 4 years ago
I think a lot of old fans are very hard on the Pet Shop Boys. YES "Please", "Disco", "Actually" and even "Introspective" were flawless, then came "Behavio(u)r" : I had a hard time with this one, I must admit, but still, some hits and very good songs were still there, remember "So Hard", "The End Of The World" and "...Seriously" : album version of course, I'll never forgive Brothers In Rhythms for their suicidal single remix. Do you know how to kill a powerful hit ? Ask BIR, they have the recipe for sure.

After "Behavio(u)r" and the "Discography" singles compilation, I thought they were done. "Was It Worth It" was just a pale Stock/Aitken/Waterman soundalike. It was the end of Phase One.

Then came "Very" and they proved for the first time that they were capable of geniously re-invent themselves. It was so dance, so joyful again, I really thought they were like reborn. Even the United States who seemed to bury them after the so-called so gay music video of "Domino Dancing" couldn't escape the wave of the massive hit single "Go West" : their masterful cover of the Village People song.

Personally I think there are good songs on each and every one of their albums, it's just a matter of taste. Yes even on "Bilingual" that a lot of fans hate, I still loved "Up Against It" or "A Red Letter Day".

But I agree that their darkest hour has been 1996-2006 with "Bilingual" : meh, "Nightlife" : too cluby even though I still love tracks there "For Your Own Good", "Happiness Is An Option", "Vampires" and of course "I Don't Know What You Want But I Can't Give it Anymore" : which I love very much even though this one has probably the longest single title in music's history along with Bonnie Tyler's "Loving You Is A Dirty Job (But Somebody's Got To Do It) lol. And the dreadful "Release" was well, released : it's the one album where they thought they were like "The Beatles" : I only like "Home And Dry" there. I'm not much of a Lennon fan, so...

As for "Fundamental", it's a very very dark release, very political, controversial. "Minimal" is very nice but the only very good song there "Integral" has been ruined by an awful single remix vocodered to death (a powerful hit ruined by a truly horrid single remix, it's "How Can You Expect To Be Taken Seriously" all over again !).

But with "Yes" they were back in good shape again (it was almost like "Very" volume 2, cheerful songs all over again (finally!), then came "Elysium" and then again I thought they were done, even though I loved "Leaving" and "Memory Of The Future" but this release was bleak, bleak, bleak...

And with "Electric" and "Super" they proved us once again that they were still a dance music force to be reckoned with : "Thursday" was back from where "West End Girls" came from, "Love Is A Bourgeois Construct" reminded us of "Left To My Own Devices" : classical music to a disco beat again, yeah !, "Axis" and "Burn" brought back their techno roots...

...and finally "Twenty-Something" is the best song they have ever made since their Imperial Phase (1985-1988). Even my sister who buried them since "Being Boring" yelled "Yeah the Pet Shop Boys are finally back !" when she heard this one !

They are today as good as they were before, the thing is, I think, they don't want to be successful again (for a reason that eludes me).

Because to be fair, one must admit that since "Fundamental" some very good songs are buried inside the albums or as b-sides, it's sad and uncanny really "Fugitive" : their best song since "Domino Dancing" was buried in "Fundamental"'s disc 2, "The Ressurectionist" was a b-side, "After The Event"/"A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi" : again b-sides or extra-tracks, "A Face Like That" is buried along "Elysium"'s moody tracks, and even "Twenty-Something" was not properly promoted (probably because of the moving but very dark and depressing black and white music video).

And to tell the truth their own label x2 can't compete with the commercial strengh of EMI/Parlophone (I wasn't even able to buy the "Vocal" CD single when I wanted to because it was already out of print only a few weeks after its original release, so come on guys, what's up with that !

But to me the Pet Shop Boys albums will always be more relevant and interresting than some of the latest Depeche Mode albums. Pity, really, because in the 80's I loved both bands equally.

beaglebeagle

Pet Shop Boys beaglebeagle

January 18, 2021
What a great write up of all their albums DNEAEADE. Thank you for the thought that went into it...a great place to start for people eager to delve into the PSB. I have to tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed two albums that don't get as much respect--"BILINGUAL" and "VERY". There are so many cuts I relish on them--"A Red Letter Day" "Go West". It was a different period for them, where they come up with some finely crafted dance pop tunes that were really catchy and pleasant to listen to.
dneaeade

Pet Shop Boys dneaeade

October 20, 2020
edited 3 months ago
It's funny you say that about "Spirit" alphagrade because I was a massive PSB/DM fan in the 80's. I still listen to their music today but as DM goes "Spirit" is the album when they lost me. I bought all DM albums, but not this one. I listened to it before buying it and then I didn't bought it because I really thought they jumped the shark. I only love "Where's The Revolution" on that album so I only bought the single and that was it. No more DM anymore for me. Until they can prove me they can do good songs again. And I'll need another "Precious" at least to keep buying another DM album again.
dneaeade

Pet Shop Boys dneaeade

October 12, 2020
edited 4 months ago
Thanks martin3801. I standby what I wrote in my review when I said that it seems that they don't want to be successful again because they did it again this year with the release of "Hotspot" when, AGAIN, the best song or the song with the most commercial appeal "An Open Mind" was AGAIN relegated to a b-side !

And I don't quite agree with you when you say that they can't be successful again because of their age. I know a lot of radios don't play Madonna songs now because she's too old and that's a fact. I don't agree with them but it's the world we live in now sadly. But the same was said about Cher before 1998 and yet, she was still number 1 around the globe in 1998 with "Believe" when she was 51 years old already. So for every rule there is an exception, I guess.

As for PSB in 1991 even I thought they would never ever get a number 1 single in the charts again, and yet they proved me wrong with "Go West" 3 years later. I think Pet Shop Boys could be massive again, if they really wanted to. But I just don't think they do really really WANT it, that's all.
dneaeade

Pet Shop Boys dneaeade

October 12, 2020
edited 4 months ago
I agree with you PuntoAparte about the remixes. The "So Hard" KLF is my all-time favourite, and so is the extended dance mix of "So Hard" as well as the extended of "This Must Be The Place I Waited Years To Leave". But as for "Being Boring" I prefer the Marshall Jefferson remix.

And when you say that "Being Boring" was like something they have never done before I can't agree with you completely since I feel "It couldn't happen here" on "Actually" has pretty much the same vibes to me. But "Being Boring" was the first time they used guitars upfront. And I don't hate "Behavio(u)r", but I DO think it's highly overrated. But that's just my opinion I guess. I know a lot of people love "Behavio(u)r" and I love "Being Boring" now even though I didn't liked it the first time I heard it but the same goes for tracks like "Leaving"
dneaeade

Pet Shop Boys dneaeade

October 12, 2020
edited 4 months ago
Thanks alphagrade. I also loved Depeche Mode a lot (but mainly from 1981 to 1991 I must admit).

Like PSB, I thought they lost a little bit of their spark when they decided to include more and more guitars. I also loved some of DM's work after 1991 but as guitars go the album "Songs Of Faith And Devotion" was a bit too much for me (even though "In Your Room", "Rush" and "Walking In My Shoes" were magical but the rest, not so much). I mainly love synth music, guitar-based music not so much (even though I loved when DM used a little bit of guitar but with sutlety ("Personal Jesus", "Enjoy The Silence", "Never Let Me Down Again") but "I Feel You" was really too much : that intro is really a little bit too much noise for me, I just can't stand it. But even in DM latest albums, I loved some stuff like on "Ultra", "Exciter" or "Playing The Angel" but after "Playing The Angel" I find it harder and harder to like their albums, I then only loved occasional tracks. I even stopped buying their albums altogether just before the release of "Spirit" (I only loved "Where's The Revolution" on it even though from 81 to 91 I was a massive fan of theirs : I bought EVERYTHING. But "Spirit" is when they lost me for good.

Like Pet Shop Boys, I also feel that Depeche Mode don't want to be successful anymore. And I started to feel this way around "Sounds Of The Universe" when the best song "Oh Well" was just a bonus track, c'mon guys. It's like they do that on purpose. But I love those guys so much and to me, Martin Lee Gore is as much a genius when it comes to songwriting than Tennant/Lowe but nowadays, it's like they don't care anymore. That's how I feel it anyway. Like they just don't bother. After all, they already made history. And on concerts, live, it's even more obvious. No matter how good their new songs are and "Where's The Revolution" was pretty great but their massive audience don't come alive when they play that the way they act when they play "Just Can't Enough" or "A Question Of Time". And this tells a lot, I think.
voltage02

Pet Shop Boys voltage02

February 6, 2020
That BIR single mix is much better than the album version! ;)
SidCarrot

Pet Shop Boys SidCarrot

December 8, 2019
edited about 1 year ago
For me, "Behaviour" has always been their very best album. Its intent is quite different from previous and subsequent albums, being very contemplative and often personal. Other than the first two U.S. singles (So Hard, ..Seriously), the rest of it is extremely moving. 'Only The Wind,' "My October Symphony,' and 'Nervously' are all stunning, and 'Being Boring' almost certainly my all time favorite PSB track.
TheVinylVultures

Pet Shop Boys TheVinylVultures

April 21, 2019
I think I can just about disagree with every point you made there.
ipodee

Pet Shop Boys ipodee

September 3, 2018
They have come a long way. For me all their 80s and 90s records were solid. Of course, for a band that stays for so long, any sort of reinvention would deviate from nostalgia so some fans may not be pleased. But I am glad what they have done in the 00s and 10s. Not all were hits but still quite solid.
Blackout-

Pet Shop Boys Blackout-

August 14, 2018
im a massive PSB fan. And its a shame that most of their Imperial Phase B-Sides are better than their best song on their new albums. Its just reality. If they did another "West End Girls" it still wouldn't be the same because that was a time when you couldn't get a decent sound out of a synth or drum machine, yet West End Girls sounded MASSIVE and fresh and it had a white RAP with a British Accent and that just simply sounded NEW to the charts. Most of the big tricks like that have been well used up and flogged these days.
PSB just need to stop trying to be "cutting edge" with their productions, accept that they aren't cutting edge with their sound no matter what they do (their "dance" albums sound like 1994) and make a damn good album using an 80s Linndrum and Fairlight again..... and THAT would kick ass!!!!
alphagrade

Pet Shop Boys alphagrade

July 26, 2017
Fascinating comments and enjoyed reading them, the Pets are a soundtrack to a generation and I still highly rate the first five albums with Behaviour being the absolute pinnacle for me - everything that fabulous about the Pets is contained within the track 'Being Boring'. Would have to disagree about their post Very material. Very hit and miss including the b-sides whilst Depeche post Violator are still releasing albums that resonate albeit with patchy results. Spirit for example is far superior to the most recent PSB offering that offered even less than the Stuart Price effort of 2013.
PuntoAparte

Pet Shop Boys PuntoAparte

April 30, 2017
I find it very hard to agree with the comment about 'Behaviour' as for me its their finest moment. Yes, 'Actually' and the era surrounding it spawned their greatest chart successes but their next album 'Introspective' was an improvement. How could it get any better? Well it did, with 'Behaviour'. I think many fans wanted more 'Actually' and didn't know what to make of 'Behaviour', even down to the sleeve, Neil's expression and the view of the back of Chris's head. The LP opens with the weird plastic tubes of 'Being Boring', a track so much more mature, organic and lush than anything they had recorded to that date. It was a departure from their previous albums and it left me thinking 'oh no, what have they done' on the first few listens. However after a while you began to realise it had an infectious simplicity and a grace that stunningly beautiful. It hasn't aged to the same degree as their other LPs and still sounds great 27 years later. Every track is pure gold. I felt with a lot of PSB albums that Neil was often playing characters within the songs, a kind of third person. Whilst listening to 'Behaviour' it felt much more personal, as if you'd been given access to a secret diary. If i was forced to choose a weakness it would be the inclusion of 'Seriously', whose themes would have suited 'Very' better, it doesn't seem to sit with the other tracks on 'Behaviour' too well and unlike you I actually prefer the Brothers In Rhythm versions.

As I love Behaviour so much I made my own 'Extended Version' by including all the longer recordings of the tracks.
1. Being Boring (Extended Mix | Julian Mendelsohn). 2. This Must Be The Place I Waited Years To Leave (Extended Japanese Mix | Julian Mendelsohn). 3. To Face The Truth. 4. How Can You Expect To Be Taken Seriously? (Extended Version | Brothers In Rhythm). 5. Only The Wind. 6. My October Symphony. 7. So Hard (Extended Dance Mix | Julian Mendelsohn). 8. Nervously. 9. The End Of The World. 10. Jealousy (Extended Mix | David Jacob)

Behaviour also spawned some of the best Pet Shop Boys remixes too, especially the KLF mix of 'So Hard' and the Brothers In Rhythm versions of 'We All Feel Better In The Dark'.
With each album they release I always hope they will reach the heights of 'Behaviour' but sadly it never happens, and in fairness to them why would it? As artists why repeat what you've done before? They have never been about the past, the PSB have always been about the here and now. However, sometimes you'll hear echoes of 'Behaviour' on newer albums, in tracks such as 'Liberation', 'It Always Comes As A Surprise', 'Miracles' and 'King Of Rome' which are all wonderful. All in all, the Pet Shop Boys are a great band, and given me over 30 years of sonic pleasure and for that I'd like to thank them.

martin3801

Pet Shop Boys martin3801

October 30, 2016
agreed with most of the things said here. if i came to them in 1996 don't think i'd still be buying every album. i gave up hoping for a return to their golden era many years ago. not sure about the comment you think "they don't want to be successful again". they have next to no chance of being mega successful again. surely 2 guys around the 60ish mark in the pop industry could only be successful i think as songwriters. glad they pursue though as artists in their own right. you are right though they still have their moments even if i thought their latest -"Super" felt a bit slight and bit too euro cheese for my liking.
pArrA_d0xx

Pet Shop Boys pArrA_d0xx

September 19, 2016
"It's A Sin" has always been one of my favourite 80's songs (regardless of genres/styles)! And this may sound silly to some, but I hear a lot of PSB in VNV Nation (even their early stuff). I've always thought that Ronan & VNV should do a cover of "It's A Sin"! I can clearly hear it in my head... does anyone else?
kangalic

Pet Shop Boys kangalic

November 13, 2016
Mine too-- it could remade into be a great heavy metal song as well
KyotoPurpleSanga

Pet Shop Boys KyotoPurpleSanga

May 26, 2016
edited over 5 years ago
Naturally one of the best eletronic/pop acts ever. Classic and timeless.