PleasePlease

Released - 1986
Chart peak - UK #3, US #7

Visitors' rating (plurality): ★★★★☆
Visitors' rating (rounded average): ★★★★☆
Wayne's rating: ★★★★☆

These star-ratings reflect how PSB albums compare to each other—not how they compare to albums by other artists.

The Pet Shop Boys released their first album, Please, in 1986. Neil has said that they chose that title because they got a kick out of imagining thousands of teenagers "forced to be polite" by asking record-store clerks for "the Pet Shop Boys album, Please." A worldwide bestseller, its high-quality, fully developed display of songwriting skills—not generally recognized at the time—seems all the more amazing for a debut album coming "out of the blue," as it were.

Long after Please was released, the Boys revealed that they had regarded the order of its tracks as taking the form of a physical and emotional journey, starting off with a young couple running away together ("Two Divided by Zero"), arriving in London ("West End Girls"), making money ("Opportunities"), falling in love ("Love Comes Quickly"), and going through assorted other experiences together until they decide they've had enough of partying and choose to settle down ("Why Don't We Live Together?"). Some songs—most noticeably "Later Tonight"—don't seem to fit very well into this presumed structure, but it's fascinating to note that, from the very start, they envisioned their work as something more than just disjointed tracks. In essence, it's a "concept album," and it wouldn't be their only one. In fact, when you get right down to it, most PSB studio albums would prove to be concept albums in one way or another. So, from that perspective, Please set the template.

The album cover's design, with its tiny photo of Chris and Neil and even smaller typeface, arose from designer Mark Farrow's observation that the smaller he made the image and type, the more eye-catching they became—which is exactly the opposite one would expect. In the years since its release, that design has come to be recognized as a classic unto itself.

Top Picks by Voter Ratings

  1. West End Girls
  2. Love Comes Quickly
  3. Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)

Wayne's Top Picks

  1. Tonight Is Forever
  2. Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)
  3. West End Girls

2001 Reissue Further Listening

In 2001, Please was one of several PSB albums reissued with a bonus Further Listening disc that included several alternate mixes of some of the original album's tracks as well as the associated single b-sides. These b-side songs had previously been released on their Alternative compilation; the links below to those b-sides take you to my pages for those songs in my Alternative section.

Further Listening 1984–1986


 

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