merry christmas from chris and neil…

“It’s something
That look in your eyes tonight
Like magic
it’s changing everything in sight
I hear it
all around me every day
in the music that you play”

The new EP from the Pet Shop Boys is out tomorrow via Astralwerks. I can hardly wait! To celebrate the release, Parlophone presents with a promotional video of All Over The World with footage from the recent Pandemonium tour. A brilliant song from a brilliant record. Enjoy!

xmas with neil and chris…

 

Sure to cap off what has been one of the best years in their storied history, the Pet Shop Boys are set to release a Christmas EP simply titled….Christmas. It’s due to be released on 14 December in the UK with no US date at the moment and includes five tracks. One of these tracks definitely should be interesting to fans who hadn’t had a chance to see the Boys perform it during the Pandemonium tour…

It Doesn’t Often Snow At Christmas (this one’s been around since 1997 but it’s been re-recorded for this EP)

My Girl (Madness cover)

All Over The World (new version)

*Viva La Vida/Domino Dancing (The former is the highlight here. A studio version of the Coldplay smash and produced by Stuart Price)

My Girl (Our House Mix)

Needless to say, this is a must buy.

never been closer to heaven…

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This past Saturday night was one that I must say I truly will never forget. Atlantic City. The House of Blues in the Showboat Casino. I and my dear friend, Marilyn were there to witness the spectacle that are the Pet Shop Boys as they continued on their Pandemonium tour in support of the brilliant record Yes. The anticipation was ungodly as we in the audience were cruelly left to stare into space as the opening DJs alternated between deep house grooves and new wave.  Things didn’t get any better as after the DJ’s concluded their sets as there was another interminable wait.  Luckily according to the band, they were being delayed by technical issues. Good thing for Twitter otherwise who knows what may have went down.

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After another five minutes, the lights dimmed and two figures appeared from the set made up of large cubes. The cubes lit up in a glorious array of colours. A true sight to behold. The two figures walked over to the keyboard and the music began to play. It was Heart! On came Neil and Chris as they were greeted to deafening applause from the fans and the excitement lasted throughout the entire set.

It was a testament to the band’s longevity and their catalogue that every single performed was one that immediately harnessed a sense of revelation and joy through the entire audience. No one stood still. Dancing was contagious as the duo focused on Yes early in the set as well as the debut album Please. The latter was truly a highlight for me as this is still a timeless record that deserves to be unearthed once again. Songs such as Two Divided By Zero, Why Don’t We Live Together, Suburbia and a certain song that shall remain nameless only added to what was a spectacular evening of sound and vision.

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Set List:
Heart
Did You See Me Coming
Pandemonium
Can You Forgive Her
Love Etc
Building A Wall
Go West mashed up to Paninaro
Two Divided By Zero
Why Don’t We Live Together
Always On My Mind
New York City Boy
Closer To Heaven
Left To My Own Devices
Do I Have To
King’s Cross
The Way It Used To Be
Jealousy
Suburbia
All Over The World
Se A Vida E
Discoteca
Viva La Vida (Yup! They covered Coldplay!)
It’s A Sin
Encore:
Being Boring
…A certain debut single…

Simply put, the Boys know how to put on a great show. The dancers were amazing especially during Jealousy where a spirited dance featuring the male dancer being flung from a mountain of cubes during a rage-filled “quarrel” with his mate. A cover of Viva La Vida by Coldplay was great to hear as the duo have always been masters of the cover song.

A breathtaking set design. Classic songs. A great show by an all time classic group.
Thank you, Neil & Chris.

the gods of electro face off!

    

 

Here we go! Two of the heavyweights have their new albums drop Stateside! You’ve got the Pet Shop Boys on one corner and in the other…Depeche Mode! Who will outsell who? Will we hear more references of West End Girls than Personal Jesus? Will Chris Lowe ever take those sunglasses off ever again? These questions and possibly a bunch more may be answered when the stores and the throngs er…lines of synth-nerds, electro-freaks, new wave casualties and the like make their way to their local Walmart, Best Buy…or who am I kidding, log on to Amazon or I-Tunes to purchase their copies. 

Pssst…I cheated. I pre-ordered both via Amazon! I’m very disheartened that I wasn’t able to snag a copy of the Mode prior to the release thus no review. I guess I can always do one once I give it a couple of listens, no?

in the limelight – pet shop boys

 

Yes
Pet Shop Boys
Parlophone/Astralwerks
US Release Date 21 April 2009

You’d think I’d have posted about them enough times on this blog. Hey guess what! The Pet Shop Boys have a new record coming out and I hear it’s bloody fantastic! Actually I can’t refer to them as the Pet Shop Boys anymore, can I? Rumour has it that they were going to switch their name to the Rescue Shelter Boys at the request of PETA.  Kind of puts a crimp on the US release, now doesn’t it? At any rate, Love Etc is number two on the Billboard US Dance Chart while Yes in the UK debuted at #4 on the album charts. That said, the question remains… After all the hubbub and posting and praise, is the new Pet Shop Boys any good? 
1. Love Etc 3.33

The record starts off with a bang with the first single. I think you all know how I feel about this track but in case this is the first time here I will try to keep it brief. The song is simply one of the best songs the PSB have written. Why? There are hooks everywhere. From the whimsical verses to the call and response chorus. You don’t just like the song. You fall victim to it. Simply as close to a perfect pop song as you can get from a band who is as good as anybody at writing them.
2. All Over The World 3.51

If you’re going to follow up a stunner like Love Etc, it had better bring the force with it. They don’t come much harder than All Over The World. Oh, those handclaps and the majestic lead segueing into the verses that fill my heart with glee! The song itself is a call to arms, a call to stop what you’re doing, to stop hating and stressing and simply celebrate. Only Neil Tennant can get away with writing a song this jubilant that doesn’t fall into the depths of melted Velveeta and only Chris Lowe can add the proper punctuation mark.
3. Beautiful People 3.42

A bit of a change of pace and a bit of a nod to Release where the Boys got their Britpop on. The unofficial third Pet Shop Boy and new wave/indie guitar deity, Johnny Marr, is back and adds his ax and harmonica talents to a swinging track that sounds like it could have been written in the 1960s and sung by the Walker Brothers or to a lesser degree, performed by the Last Shadow Puppets. Here we have Tennant wishing aloud that he could be someone different with a more exciting life or a life vastly different than the one he has now. I don’t know about you but I will gladly trade places with him any day…
4. Did You See Me Coming? 3.43

With a gentle strum of the guitar by Mr. Marr, we then fast-forward to a mid-tempo stunner. A personal highlight of the record. DYSMC  is simply a classic pop song. An arresting pop song that reminds you of the highs found on the classic Very. This is simply a song that dares you to sit still while listening. It won’t be long before you’re up dancing and swaying your arms in the air in glee. This song begs to be a single.
5.  Vulnerable 4.51

“You know I can’t ever bear to seem weak or have any doubts. That’s just my technique. I put in the hours, at least I don’t shirk A little bravado does much of the work”. Another lyrical gem from one of the best lyricists in pop music within the last 30 years. A mid-tempo ballad where the guard is let down and Neil lays it on the line. No more games. No more pretense. Here he is…come and get him! The most stripped down song on record with a steady motorik beat and some simple strumming from Marr. This is Neil’s show and Chris drops the beat and simply gets out of the way. 
6. More Than A Dream 4.59

Or more simply the sound of being at peace and feeling completely immersed in the music on the dance floor. HI-NRG lite here. A straight-ahead dance number which drives home the point of the record to this point. This is an upbeat record where the PSB are reclaiming the title of being pop songwriters extraordinaire. George Michael should be doing a facepalm right about…now. He used to write this type of song in his sleep.
7. Building A Wall 3.50

What? What’s this? A vocal cameo from Chris Lowe? It simply cannot be! We’ve got a bit of a political anthem on BAW continuing a trend started on the previous record, Fundamental, with a track like Integral. Much like Integral, BAW doesn’t fall into the trap of being agit-prop but it does get the point across as you’re being seduced by the melody. Not a stunner like many of the songs preceding it on the record but not a clunker by any stretch either. Think of it as somewhat of a breather before the slap you’re about to receive a little later. 
8. King Of Rome 5.31

Slow song alert! Lovelorn and wide-eyed. Neil is in a contemplative state of mind and the backdrop simply serves as a guide as he wishes and pleads for the return of his dearest one and a return to the way things were. A solid, solemn piece that sets you up for…
9. Pandemonium 3.46

Aptly titled. Another one from the PSB template that no other band can match. The straightforward, head down, gate-crashing pop anthem. They take another page from the Very playbook here and once again come up aces with another single-worthy track. Word is this was written for Kylie Minogue to record but she never got back to them whether she wanted it or not. Her loss. She could use this song right about now. No matter. Her version would have fallen way short of the majesty of the PSB version we have here.
10. The Way It Used To Be 4.46

or a reminder that almost twenty years later, Behaviour, really is a classic record. The penultimate track on the record is also the finest. So sad. So cloaked in despair. So entrancing. So irresistable. To put it simply, Neil and Chris take no prisoners here. Neil with all the desperation he can muster in his voice soars and Chris once again sets the stage by leaving no frills and letting Neil have the floor as he tries to come to grips with a relationship past its crisis point and well on its way to crumbling at his feet. Have you ever felt like dancing simply because sitting down was too painful as it allowed your brain to replay all the memories you can’t repress fast enough? This is your soundtrack.
11. Legacy 6.21

“That Carphone Warehouse boy has been on the phone – He wants to upgrade the mobile you own – Have you realised your computer’s a spy?” The record comes to a close with a comment on the hysteria and paranoia we’ve been subject to and are guilty of falling prey to as a society. The highlight here is the middle eight section with a little pomp and circumstance thrown in for effect as Neil sings a bit of French for our ears. 
It must be said that the MVP of Yes is Xenomania, the producers of the record led by Brian Higgins. What they did here was not so much infuse their style on Neil and Chris but become the perfect foil by bringing back the essence and strength of what made the PSB the pop icons they are. By mining bits and pieces of the past triumphs and adding a new pop sheen over it, we bear witness to a match made in pop heaven. What’s more astounding is the balance that is kept. The record is very poppy but doesn’t feel like it. It simply sounds like a PSB record or even better yet, a greatest hits record made up of songs you hadn’t heard but still feel familiar because the footprints of the classic PSB catalogue are sprinkled throughout making it perfect for old fans to reaffirm their love for the band and for new fans to see why the eighties were the last essential decade for musical innovation and evolution and no one else has done a better job of remaining as relevant and the chamelonic ability to change with the times as Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe. 
This just might be their best record they’ve ever done.





100? you don’t look a day over 99!

 

Morrissey

 

My how time flies… It’s my hundredth post! I would just like to take the opportunity to thank all of you my readers that I lovingly call my Suedeheads. You are the reason this blog exists. Well…you and my insatiable ego but it’s mostly you guys! The blog really is a labour of love and I hope you stick with me for a few hundred more posts and please keep the comments coming and bands, send me some more tunes so I can talk about you! 

As a measure of my appreciation…

Neil Tennant + Chris Lowe + Phil Oakey = WHAT…….?

Yes upon its release will also be available as a limited edition which will include a second disc of remixes which will be entitled Yes Etc. It also features an absolute delectable track entitled This Used To Be The Future. A simply delicious song featuring vocals by not only Neil but Chris and yup, Phil Oakey of the Human League. Two titans of electronic pop get together for a track can be nothing short of breathtaking. The song laments that the promise of a brighter future we all thought would be a certainty in the eighties would go unfulfilled. The songs begs for your attention so check it out now. 

“This Used To Be The Future”, taken from the forthcoming Astralwerks release, “Yes Etc”

a preview of the new record? why yes…

We’re close. Real close to the release of Yes, the tenth studio album by Neil Tennant & Chris Lowe aka the Pet Shop Boys. You’ve heard Love Etc. You saw them prove why they deserved their Outstanding Contribution To Music Award at the BRITS and you saw the video. Now, at long last there is now a free preview of the record available on ITunes. Upon first listen to the snippets I can say for sure that is going to be yet another winner from arguably two of the best songwriters in the last half century. They’ve been that good and that consistent for nearly 30 years and Yes certainly appears that it will do nothing but further enhance their legacy. 

It goes without saying that Love Etc is a simply a goldmine but I’m also pretty keen on All Over The World which would fit quite nicely on 1996’s Bilingual record. To be a complete fanboy, I’ll simply say that I’m really loving all the tracks so far. Post your thoughts and we can compare notes! 🙂