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|I love you, you pay my rent.||Pet Shop Boys
Neil Tennant (vocals)
Chris Lowe (keyboards)
"Even in the
beginning, the Pet Shop Boys rarely wrote anything that ended up as a simple
dance record. West End Girls, with its half-sung, half-spoken verses,
seemed to be a song about escape and longing, but it was also laced with urban
paranoia and unlikely historical references. Opportunities, which was
sometimes mistakenly seen as hymn to mid-Eighties Thatcherite and resonate
consumerism and greed, dripped with sarcasm and irony. It Couldn't Happen
Here, which was written partly using music supplied by film composer Ennio
Morricone, was a stately shocked, sombrero response to a world in which people
were dying of AIDS. (...) It is not surprising that one of the saddest songs
the Pet Shop Boys' have ever written -Being Boring- sounds happy, and
one of the happiest -Love Comes Quickly- sounds heartbreakingly sad.
It's a far more realistic reflection of how life is lived -you dance to shake
off sadness, and you wallow when you are happy because wallowing is one of the
luxuries which happiness allows you."
-- Chris Heath, 2/98
½ 1986: Please
"The London duo of ex-Smash Hits journalist Neil Tennant and electro-musician Chris Lowe has made an enormously successful career by applying intentionally provocative intellectual pretension and philosophical self-indulgence to au courant dance music. Please is a slick set of anonymous easy-listening disco tracks, brilliantly, soullessly produced (mostly by Stephen Hague), with ridiculous, overbearingly smug lyrics recited by Tennant, who speak-sings suspiciously like a young Al Stewart. The in-joke references and self-amused esoterica strewn throughout songs like West End Girls and Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money) should have precluded their general popularity, but evidently the laxative-smooth synth backing has utilitarian value for clubgoers. Ghastly, depressing and offensive."
-- Ira Robbins, trouserpress.com
Consisting of club oriented remixes of 6 songs taken from their debut album and single b-sides.
½ 1987: Actually
"When they released Actually, their second proper album, in 1987, the Pet Shop Boys proved they were no flash-in-the-pan pop sensation. Neil Tennant wrote about disaffected consumerism ("Rent," "Shopping") with the wry insight only the former editor of a teen pop magazine could have. Often accused of being emotionally bankrupt by their critics, Tennant and his partner, keyboardist Chris Lowe, effortlessly proved them wrong, camouflaging clever commentary ("It's a Sin") behind deadpan attitude and catchy dance music. The jewel in Actually's crown is probably "What Have I Done to Deserve This?," a classic hit for which Lowe and Tennant coaxed '60s pop icon Dusty Springfield out of semiretirement. Actually has aged better than anybody--including perhaps the Pet Shop Boys themselves--could have expected."
-- Elisabeth Vincentelli, amazon.com
"Despite still enjoying critical acclaim in the latter part of their career, it's often forgotten that the Pet Shop Boys' best material was written in the late 80s/early 90s when their air of arch, but melodic cool is far more ageless and endearing then their more recent high camp disco image. 1988's 'Introspective' is one of those rare beasts, an excellent remix album. Covering six tracks in 50 minutes, It includes four top 10 singles of which only 'Domino Dancing' sounds cheap and tinny in hindsight; 'Always On My Mind' is an inspired cover version and 'It's Alright' is a wonderful, uplifting anthem that sounds even better in its near-ten minute extended version. "
-- Jonathan Leonard, Leonard's Lair
¼ 1990: Behaviour
"Behaviour marks a bit of a departure--or, more appropriately, an evolution--in style for the Pet Shop Boys, whose previous albums are largely comprised of hungry and often slightly seedy songs with a high emphasis production-wise on the band's beloved club roots. Those dance elements are still on display here, but there's a much more mature feel to Harold Faltermeyer's production. (...) what [Behavior] lacks in upbeat anthems and disco production it more than makes up for in intelligent, introspective song writing."
-- Rikki Price, amazon.co.uk
¾ 1991: Discography - The complete singles collection
18 hit singles spanning their career from 1985 to 1991. A must have even to the more casual Pet Shop Boys fan, or any synthpop/80s music aficionado. Includes West End Girls, Opportunities, Suburbia, It's a Sin, Rent, What Have I Done to Deserve This?, Domino Dancing, Being Boring and more.
"Disarming for those who know PSB as a soul-searching, mournful duo, this astoundingly cheerful album eschews irony for a literal - dare we say it? - happy approach. One wonders what caused the turnaround for the pair, taking them out of the agonising of earlier hits like 'So Hard' and 'Jealousy' and into this alarmingly bright, pretty-coloured world of joy. Things get off to a good start - 'Can you forgive her?' (the title of an Anthony Trollope novel, for those fearing Neil might have abandoned his literary pretensions) is vintage PSB, relentlessly minor key, packed with suffering and repressed rage, punctuated by lightning flash chords against the beat. Suddenly we're wrenched out of the darkness into the almost deranged levity of 'I wouldn't normally do this kind of thing' and the almost sickeningly cheerful 'Liberation'..."
-- Stephen Chubb, amazon.co.uk customer reviews, 4/01
1994: Disco 2
"The limited edition version of this has two discs on it, for the price of one, and this is what I got, in more ways than one. The first disc is a 48-minute long overextended, tedious, and a bloody boring, mix. I like the Boys a lot, but this is dumb. The album is done to satisfy the dance crowd, which is fine if they released it seperately from Disc Two (which is excellent---it is the reason the whole album is worth getting). It has five great tunes: Decadence, Some Speculation, Euroboy, Yesterday, When I was Mad, and I wouldn't Normally do this Kind of Thing."
-- Ram Samudrala
"With the exception of the tepid 'Disco II', this is the Pet Shop Boys' weakest outing of the '90s. Which isn't to say there aren't scads of witty lyrics and lots of bubbly electro-pop. (...) There are few outright stinkers, but there's enough bland inoffensiveness and PSB-by-numbers to keep things well below the level of 'Alternative', 'Very' or 'Behaviour'. "
-- Brian J. Dillard, armchair-dj.com
" Nightlife, the follow-up to the Boys'sizzling fusion of Latin rhythms, deep house and jaded insouciance, Bilingual, is a mush of half- arsed trance, lyrics worthy of a late- middle- aged romance authoress and misguided R&B. But it's Neil Tennant's wanton disregard for his own talents that's the real shame here. (...) One moral I've drawn from this wretched record: don't have high expectations of pop stars. Despite their protestations, they'll never fail to let you down."
-- Paul Cooper, Pitchfork Media
"... the spare and lovely new 'Release' is the group's most consistently rewarding album since 1993's 'Very'. Produced almost exclusively by the Boys and engineered by longtime sideman Pete Gleadall, these 10 songs recapture the elegiac tone of 1990's 'Behaviour' LP and the acoustic textures of such classic b-sides as Decadence. Featuring the alternately jangly and soaring guitars of Johnny Marr, veteran of both The Smiths and Electronic, the songs on 'Release' range from the Beatles-esque pomp and circumstance of I Get Along to the gorgeously glum cabaret ballad Love is a Catastrophe and the reflective electronic folk of London."
-- Brian J. Dillard, armchair-dj.com
2003: Disco 3
Tracklisting: 1-Time On My Hands 2-Positive Role Model 3-Try It (Im In Love With A Married Man) 4-London (Thee Radical Blaklite Edit) 5-Somebody Elses Business 6-Here (PSB New Extended Mix) 7-If Looks Could Kill 8-Sexy Northerner (Superchumbo Mix) 9-Home And Dry (Blank And Jones mix) 10-London (Genuine Piano Mix)
"... features 10 dance tracks that were written, recorded or remixed around the same time as the songs for their most recent studio album, Release. Also included on the disc is a track that was written back in 1983 by original Pet Shop Boys producer Bobby O. Disco 3 is meant to be a companion of sorts to their Release album, as Disco 2 was to 1994s Very, and Disco was to 1986s Please. This new album differs from the other Disco records in that it not only features remixes of album songs, but also previously unreleased tracks that didnt make the cut on Release."
-- Pete Richards, chartattack.com, 12/02
½ 2006: Fundamental
Tracklisting: 1. Psychological 2. Sodom & Gomorrah Show 3. I Made My Excuses & Left 4. Minimal 5. Numb 6. God Willing 7. Luna Park 8. I'm With Stupid 9. Casanova In Hell 10. Twentieth Century 11. Indefinite Leave To Remain 12. Integral
"Pet Shop Boys fans were pretty excited to learn Chris and Neil were teaming up with the King of lush electro pop Trevor Horn to make this album and the end result certainly doesn't disappoint. 'Fundamental' is a confident affirmation of the Pet Shop Boys' musical strengths. (...) Sprinkled with Hi-NRG frivolity, 'Fundamental' is the sound we most fondly remember the Pet Shop Boys for in the first place. (...) Lead single Im With Stupid inspired by Blairs fawning relationship with Bush is all walloping syn-drums and high-gloss, 80s production, while Integral (a direct attack on the proposed introduction of ID cards) is a thumping, Euro-trance anthem of almost Tatu-like absurdity. By contrast, opener Psychological is set to a moody electro pulse, Tennants menacing vocal marking metronomic time until that creamy, billowing, inimitably Pet Shop Boys synth sound floods in, making sweet light of the darkness. (...) Second single Minimal is a killer, all broken beats, New Order bass line and boogietastic electro breakdown... But it's the overtly political tracks that hold most interest. Twentieth Century, an articulate examination of the war in Iraq, musically feels like a companion piece to Psychological, again with minimalist synth bass and just the vaguest suggestion of beats."
-- musicmp3.ru, 6/06
2007: Disco 4
Tracklisting: 1. Read My Mind - The Killers (Psb Stars Are Blazing Mix) 2. Hallo Spaceboy - David Bowie Feat. Pet Shop Boys (Psb Extended Mix) 3. Integral (Psb Perfect Immaculate Mix) 4. Walking On Thin Ice - Yoko Ono (Psb Electro Mix) 5. Sorry - Madonna (Psb Maxi-Mix) 6. Hooked On Radiation - Atomizer (Psb Orange Alert Mix) 7. Mein Teil - Rammstein (Psb There Are No Guitars On This Mix) 8. I'm With Stupid (Psb Maxi-Mix)
Release date: Oct 25, 2007
¼ 2009: Yes
Tracklisting: 1. Love etc. 2. All over the world 3. Beautiful people 4. Did you see me coming? 5. Vulnerable 6. More than a dream 7. Building a wall 8. King of Rome 9. Pandemonium 10. The way it used to be 11. Legacy
"Songwriter/ producer Brian Higgins produced 'Yes'. Best known under the pseudonym Xenomania, Higgins has helped bring back a Stock Aitken Waterman feel to the UK Charts, producing danceable pop for Kylie Minogue and Girls Aloud, among others. Pandemonium, the best example of the Xenomania / Pet Shop Boys collaboration, sounds as light and bubbly as any of the dance pop Higgins has created for Girls Aloud, without sacrificing the Pet Shop Boys unique personality. Drenched in positivism and hope in these tough economic times, 'Yes' comes loaded with pleasurable dance tracks that stick closely to the Pet Shop Boys formula without feeling redundant. Such tracks as All Over The World, Vulnerable and More Than a Dream, could easily squeeze on any previous PSB album without missing a beat. Stand out cut, The Way It Used To Be, deals with longing for a lost lover and the end of a high period in a relationship, over a wave of minimalist synths that allow Neils brilliant vocals and poignant lyrics to take centre stage. (...) Despite a few flaws, such as Building a Wall, King of Rome and the aforementioned Legacy, 'Yes' ranks as one of the best Pet Shop Boys albums."
-- James W. Coates, dancetechnomusic.suite101.com, 03/09
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