My all-time favorite one-line descriptions of the Pet Shop Boys

  1.  "The last and best of the British synth-pop fops"
  2. "The Popes of Pop"
  3.  "What a cerebral band"
  4. "The most dignified and undemonstrative of visionairies"
  5.  "The musical equivalent of a very fine wine"
  6. "The elder statesmen of pop"
  7. "My generation's Paul McCartney and John Lennon"
  8. "The Lennon and McCartney of disco"
    • An even less debatable suggestion offered at a surprisingly early date—way back on March 29, 1988—by interviewer Dennis Hunt, writing for the L.A. Times.

  9. "An ultra-intelligent pop group—an oxymoron they are wise to"
  10. "The Pet Shop Boys remain in a class of their own"
    • The final line of Gary Ryan's glowing five-star review of Electric posted on June 21, 2013 on the Out in the City website. So simple, it would almost qualify as a truism, but that's only the case for us Petheads. It's no less true for anyone else, but it could nevertheless be a revelation. He also offers some pretty nifty one-liners about both Neil ("the mirrorball Noel Coward") and Chris ("'Move aside boys, this is how it’s done'").

  11. "Pet Shop Boys are, simply, the greatest electronic-dance act of all time"
    • Stated by Jody Rosen in a mid-September 2013 notice in New York magazine about the Boys' upcoming Electric Tour show in New York City. It pretty much says it all right there—though in the same notice they're also described as "living legends" and "the best writers ever to sashay out of Euro clubland."

  12. "Our favorite synth rock bum-outs"
    • How Rolling Stone critic Rob Sheffield described PSB in a very positive October 2006 review of their recent concert in New York City. The "bum-outs" reference stems from what Sheffield noted as the pervasive sadness underlying their songs. He also referred to them in the same article as "the Interpol of the Eighties," a metaphor that, despite his subsequent attempt to elaborate, still seems completely unfathomable. My fondness, however, for Sheffield's "Our favorite synth rock bum-outs" description probably comes less from the description itself than from the fact that it was delivered in Rolling Stone, a publication that has often given the Boys positive reviews—well, at least it has following a good deal of negativity during their early years—despite the fact that its critics nearly always leave the impression that they really don't want to give them positive reviews but just can't help themselves.

  13. "They are indestructible."
  14. "The Professors of Dance Pop"
  15. "The most beautifully sustained art project in pop"
  16. "Pop’s most culturally voracious band"
    • How journalist Laura Snapes describes them in The Guardian on February 3, 2024. She goes on to explain: "Their immaculate synthpop packages emotion in cosmopolitanism, characterising love and loss via Italian subcultures, the Bolshevik uprising and David Lodge novels. They suggest that it is through culture that we make sense of our lives…."

… plus, as a perhaps highly questionable "bonus," my all-time least favorite one-line description of them: