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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their finest moment, 13 Nov 2007
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This review is from: PET SHOP BOYS-Actually (Audio CD)
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.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Nov 2011 03:46:37 GMT
That is a brill comment about compilers of tedious Top 100 lists. I've got abums at home I feel genius-albums I can't do without, but cos their bythose people either deliberately ignored/wrongly mistaken as fluff (Kim Wilde, Bangles, Sandra), pretentiously unimportant (OMD), or absurdly hated for no reason other than jealousy (Duran Duran) they'll never even be considered, nevermind appear so know how you feel. I would add the PSB did appear a few times in a few lists made some years ago-but it's all guitar heavy bores in there, c/rap or absurdly accalimed trash like Madonna.

I also echo your irritation how PSB are seen as miserable & emotionally detched with my own likes. Kim Wilde was never taken seriously, beyond her first hit-seen as a daddy's girl, despite the fact she was doing stuff as individual (and moreso) than most & it was completely ignored when she started writing her own stuff (something was accused of not doing only a year before she did!). She said herself that critics can't seem to accept albums mixed with light and serious stuff, which her albums have always been. Yet Madonna, Kylie and others get away with outright predictable rubbish year after year, just cos they've tapped into a desperate market for the easily-pleased! No balance anywhere. Duran have always made albums firecely independent of each other too-always wrote their own stuff AND played it, yet critics hate hate hate, no consturctive criticism, where U2, Paul Weller, Sting, Cure, & the stuff of today treated like Gods. OMD too-they blaze a trail, being the first to make synth-music creative, original, well-balanced, emotional AND innovative, yet Depeche Mode always get thanked for it & turn up on album lists! WTF!?

Anyway good review. I loved 'Very' as their best album, though this is good too. You may hate the way they're perceived sometimes, but remember they've had a great critical reception for many years, still have, unlike my lot (!?), whereas you question PSB quality post 1993 material, which, again, I agree with you on. A bit past their prime, they never went away for a long period, so they are forcing themselves to run dry-& forcing it on us!

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Nov 2011 08:28:34 GMT
Last edited by the author on 21 Nov 2011 08:36:12 GMT
Hey, thanks for the feedback. I was a fan of Duran Duran and the Bangles (favourite song 'Following', I bought the single on vinyl 7 inch, 'Dover Beach' on other side) when I was in single figures and still like them. (I was dancing around to 'A View To A Kill' not so long ago and I loved 'The Reflex' when it came out, and bought the album its on in the late nineties). I think I fancied Kim Wilde but admittedly don't know much about her. But generally speaking in my teens I discovered bigger names like the Beatles and solo Beatles, PSB, Queen and Depeche Mode and didn't listen to much else. Then I started to catch on to the likes of Bjork, Pulp, Manic Street Preachers and Radiohead. These days I listen to a much wider selection of stuff on the Czech radio station Radio Jedna (pronounced 'yedna') (British radio stations are too commercial and limited and DJ orientated) but I do enjoy a trip down memory lane and filling the gaps in in my childhood. Like yesterday I just watched 'The Empire Strikes Back' for the first time. 20 years late, but better late than never, I suppose.
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