PSB studio albums that made selected major music publications' year-end lists

I'm always delighted, of course, when publications list Pet Shop Boys albums in their "year-end best" lists. I've selected the following short list of major U.K. and U.S. music or music-related periodicals—my choice, for what it's worth—to outline how the Boys' studio albums have fared in their annual year-end lists. In the table below, a check mark indicates whether that album appears in each publication's year-end list. A number signals a special consideration described in the footnotes that follow the list.

  • Face = The Face
  • MM = Melody Maker
  • Mojo
  • NME = New Musical Express
  • Q
  • RS = Rolling Stone
  • Spin
  • VV = Village Voice


The cells for The Face after Release are grayed out because The Face ceased publication in 2003. The cells for Mojo before Bilingual are grayed out because Mojo didn't begin publication until late 1993 and apparently didn't publish a year-end list for that year. Cells for Melody Maker are grayed out after Nightlife because it ceased publication after 2000. Although Spin ceased print publication in late 2012, it continues as a "webzine." It's interesting to note that so far Elysium and Hotspot are the only PSB studio albums not to appear in a single one of these year-end lists. A couple of these magazines included Discography in their year-end lists, but I personally consider it rather questionable to include "best of" and "greatest hits" albums in a year-end list; hence I exclude it here.

1Actually failed to make Rolling Stone magazine's 1987 year-end list. But in a classic case of critical re-evaluation over time, when Rolling Stone published its 2020 update of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, what should appear at #435 but Actually? Retrospectively, any album that would place among the 500 greatest albums of all time would deserve to rank among the best albums of the year in which it was released.

2Curiously, although Q didn't include Very in its year-end list for 1993, it did list Very at #91 in its list of the 100 greatest British albums of all time. I have trouble understanding how it can make the latter without making the former, but go figure.

3Although the relentlessly rockist Rolling Stone (at least its U.S. edition) has never listed a Pet Shop Boys album in any of its overall year-end lists, it did include Very in a list of the greatest dance/pop albums of the 1990s. At least that's something.

4Although Bilingual didn't make the Village Voice's 1996 list, it did make the year-end list for the Voice's chief critic at the time, Robert Christgau. I suppose, despite his influence, he was still unable to sway his colleagues to his thinking.

5Rolling Stone didn't include Super in its overall 2016 year-end list, but it did rank it at #8 in its list of the 20 best "pop" albums of the year.