Managing--sort of--to keep within the Pet Shop Boys tradition of one-word album titles, the moniker of this latest best-of, PopArt
, is typical of the band--arrogant and somewhat pretentious yet also tongue-in-cheek and slyly self-aware. All the 35 tracks on these two CDs are indeed both pop and art and rather than being in chronological order have been split in fairly arbitrary fashion across a "Pop" and, erm, an "Art" disc. The band are doubtless well aware that much heated discussion will take place among fans about which track belongs where, and indeed, as evidenced on the commentary of the accompanying DVD
, squabbled about the splits themselves when compiling this release.
Philosophical debates aside, this is an absolutely essential collection for anyone who enjoys the Pet Shop Boys' unique mix of bittersweet poignancy, archness and occasional high camp--or indeed for any discerning pop (or art) fan. Encompassing almost all their single releases (only "Was It Worth It?" and "How Can You Expect To Be Taken Seriously?" are missing), this is a glorious retrospective of one of Britain's finest pop institutions. Let's hope there are another 35 singles half this good for a quadruple box set in another 18 years' time. --Rikki Price
Collection of 35 tracks released by the popular electropop due between 1985 and 2004. The album features all the group's biggest chart hits, including 'West End Girls', 'Go West', 'Always On My Mind', 'Heart', 'It's a Sin', and many more.