This is one classy, catchy, dancey, trippy (oh yes) and poignant album, yet nobody seems to know it. For me, there is nothing the Beatles did that is as sad and moving as It couldn't happen here, save perhaps Blackbird, but for me the latter gets a bit boring when you've heard it a certain number of times. And great though the Beatles are the elephant in the room that nobody has had the wit to talk about viz their songs is that they're not really that great to do disco moves to. You certainly can with the songs on this album.
This album is like a musical disco opera, starting with a dramatic 12 inch song that invokes the City of London and a debonair and suave young man looking for his lover on a cold and wet evening. It pushes on into the yuppiedom theme, overturning convention with a man singing about how he is grateful that a lover pays his rent and much more subtle and clever social comment in "Shopping" than they manage with their clumsy rants in their sad latter day works. Savour no nonsense catchyness song after song on this effort.
Hit Music has been dismissed as being too 80s. Presumably such dismissers didn't listen to the last one minute and four seconds of the song. What is that? The Pet Shop Boys have invented Lounge Music ten years early. This is dreamy, lie on the floor and bliss-out stuff.
It is probably true that you have to be in touch with your feminine side, or have one, to really appreciate it. Everytime I hear it I hear myself mouthing the words, moving my body and I seem to be leaving my chair and dancing. And I'm doing this years after I first heard it. Perhaps most of the journos responsible for those tedious top 100 album lists are still struggling with feelings because this album never seems to get on their lists. And I'm really not impressed by that ultra dull cliche about the Pet Shop Boys being miserablists or singing in a deadpan and emotionally detached manner, as if they are basically an affected band being very droll. That is an insult to the depth this album has. Almost as sad and deep as It couldn't happen here is King's Cross. It is weary, addictive and very original. If you asked the Pet Shop Boy's today to write a song like anything on this album I really doubt they could do it. They were of a certain age and everything momentarily fell into a very special place.
Probably this album's weakest moment is its most successful, the well known single, It's a sin, which is pretty fine, but for me sinks below this album's overall genius. Much of that genius probably extends a bit beyond the Pets themselves. The drums beats and production on this album are simply unmatched elsewhere in their canon. They actually seem to think about the drum patterns whereas later on in their career they just stick some generic one on and let it plod away. These days the Pet Shop Boys say what they ruddy well like but it don't add up to great art. I much prefer "Turning in my sleep, you call me a fool, to fall in love, is it so uncool?" to... well, just about anything they've written post Very. Certainly, after Neil came out he seemed to change his lyrical style to one stuffed with awful metaphors and though it's good to move on, it's good to still have something to say. But I digress. This is a great, great album. I think.