Monday, April 27, 2009

I’m Not Ashamed to Admit It…

I am a Pet Shop Boys fan.

There. That's feels finally admit it openly.

I've actually been a fan since the British duo of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe first released “West End Girls” in 1984 right through to current day, fifty-six singles and ten albums later. To me, the Pet Shop Boys are the epitome of intellectualized electronica and have consistently crafted dance music for the thinking man. Their lyrics are smart, insightful, introspective, and even contrary at times. Their music is ever theatrical, always joyful, and at times tinged with wistful melancholia. Stylistically, they’re avant-garde with dramatic flairs and flourishes punctuating everything from their wardrobe to their album art.

They’ve bucked every commercial trend to remain loyal to their own unique sound and continue to sell albums - enough to maintain a record deal. They've taken biting pot shots at political figures like George W. Bush and Tony Blair ("I'm With Stupid") yet never suffered any Dixie Chicks-esque backlashes. They’ve even eschewed political correctness when they politely declined a request from PETA to change their name to the Rescue Shelter Boys – a petition that was designed to highlight the alleged animal welfare benefits of getting pets from shelters rather than pet stores. These guys know just where the line is and how to walk it.

And their talent goes well beyond their own music, with production work and remixes done for Liza Minnelli, the late Dusty Springfield, Boy George, Yoko Ono, Dead or Alive's Pete Burns, Tina Turner, Robbie Williams, Kylie Minogue, Elton John, David Bowie, Madonna, The Killers, Rufus Wainwright, and – most recently – Lady Gaga.

Anyway, they’ve just released their 10th proper studio album (I qualify this since they’ve also released numerous compilation albums and remix collections), simply titled Yes. It’s vintage PSB, with standouts being “Did You See Me Coming?”, “More Than a Dream” and the sublime “The Way It Used to Be” – easily their best song since 1990’s “Being Boring.”

The Pet Shop Boys have always crafted visually stunning videos to accompany their operatic dance beats. Here’s the first single. “Love, Etc.” and a few other personal favorites from their prolific catalog:

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