I consider this to be the second-best album by the Pet Shop Boys (the best, in my opinion, being Actually for being more quintessentially Pet-Shop-Boy-ish). However, were I rank Actually as 100, this would be a 98 or 99.
One of the things that Behaviour has that is lacking in the previous work of the Pet Shop Boys (and in much of the pop music of the 1980s generally) is maturity. The Pet Shop Boys show in this album that they can go beyond gimmickry, beyond simple tunes and witty lyrics, to have music and lyrics of real poetic merit (okay, so we're not talking Tennyson here, but quite a cut above the usual popular wordsmithing). Perhaps this is why the album didn't fare as well financially as its predecessor.
This album marked the beginning of the decline of the Pet Shop Boys on the American scene. Only one song really made much of a dent, So Hard, and this was perhaps their last real American hit. Other songs from the album that were released as singles, and every single released since, has failed to make progress of any significance in the charts. Beyond the shores of America, the Pet Shop Boys are still fairly popular, and this album was a financial as well as artistic success.
It is unfortunate, because many of the songs on this album are truly beautiful. Being Boring is my favourite song, the first track on the album, as it recounts a tale of life, with interjections from the Parisian set (read, Gertrude Stein and company) comparing it to circles today, remembering lost friends ('some are here and some are missing in the 1990s'), all done to the backdrop of an electronic-yet-symphonic quality musical setting.
All the music and lyrics fall together so well in this album, the Pet Shop Boys can be seen to have come of age. A pity that it was, by that point by and large, an age that had passed already.