Pet Shop Boys have released many great albums. Very is their greatest. From the great opening shot of Can You Forgive Her? to the majestic closer Go West you get one pop gem after another. There is not a single track that couldn't have been a hit single.
The lyrics are, as you would expect from Neil Tenant impeccable, ranging from the exuberant love song I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind Of Thing to the delicate pathos of To Speak is a Sin.
But this time round it is the music that is centre stage. Chris whips up a regular storm on most of the tracks, sending out from the speakers a joyous and irrepressable energy, especially on Young Offender and Yesterday, When I Was Mad, the latter much better in this form than the comparatively flat single version.
Pop just doesn't get much better than this....
And then you get the second CD (Further Listening 1992-1994), a wonderful mixture of B Sides, remixes, demos and even a live track thrown in. The B Sides include the should-have-been-a-single Shameless and the beautifuly poignant Hey Headmaster. The remixes include a wonderful update of Violence (originally on Please). The demos are little gems, the original 1992 12" mix of Go West, the demo of Falling and the workout Forever in Love which ended up, in different form, on the Relentless album which was packaged with some of the initial copies of Very. The live take on Blur's Girls and Boys is a hugely enjoyable romp.
As with all this series of reissues, you also get a generous booklet with an essay about the album, notes on all of the tracks and complete lyrics.
If you have the original single CD version of Very it is worth upgrading to this set.
If you are new to Pet Shop Boys, or perhaps have heard them on the radio over the years, then either this or PopArt are probably your best ways into their world.