What's New? – Recent Updates & Additions

May 18, 2021

Having received his permission to do so, I've added Andreas N. Johnsen's name to my Thank You page in recognition of his contribution of information yesterday (see just below). Thanks again, Andreas!

I've learned that the Pet Shop Boys' June 20, 2021 in Viborg, Denmark has been canceled without rescheduling to any other date. So I've now removed that show from my PSB Tours page. As officially announced online (translated), "All ticket buyers will receive an email with details."

May 17, 2021

Thanks so much Andreas N. Johnsen from Oslo for letting me know that the legendary "queer punk" band Pansy Division, whom I've long listed on my page devoted to remakes of Tennant-Lowe songs as having often performed "It's a Sin" live, released a studio cover of the song on their 2016 album Quite Contrary. I've therefore modified my pre-existing entry for them under that song on that page.

The Pet Shop Boys have announced that their June 2, 2021 concert in Frankfurt, Germany, has been rescheduled to June 19. (Tickets remain valid for the new date.) I've modified my PSB Tours page accordingly.

May 15, 2021

The new charity single of "It's a Sin" by Elton John and Years & Years (as it is officially credited), co-produced by the Pet Shop Boys, has appeared on the official U.K. singles chart at #57. I've therefore noted it in the "by other artists" section of my singles charts page.

Thanks to Michael from Kassel, Germany, for telling me about a new song that mentions the Pet Shop Boys by name: an homage to pop music of the 1980s titled "Wild Boys," by the German-based duo Fantasy. I've now added it to the pertinent list here on my website at #53. And if you would like to hear it for yourself, it's available on YouTube—but please note that its lyrics are in German and Polish.

May 14, 2021

I've added a new entry for the story behind the Pet Shop Boys' non-appearance on the BRIT Awards broadcast at #40 in my list of notorious rumors about them.

Thanks to Andrew Shaw for letting me know that "West End Girls" was used on today's episode of The One Show on BBC1. I've now noted this in the entry for that song at #1 in my list of PSB songs used in non-musical TV shows and films.

May 13, 2021

Regarding "Cricket Wife," a number of listeners have pointed out that the section beginning with pronounced drumbeats at about the 2:52 mark sounds to them like a funeral march. I agree that the music readily lends itself to that assessment, and it makes sense given the subject matter. But I won't so far to say that a funeral march is necessarily what it is. Whatever the case, I've stated this fact in a new bullet-point annotation to my commentary on the song. Thanks to Steve N. for providing a friendly "nudge" for me to go ahead and make this addition.

May 12, 2021

It would appear that Elton John and Olly Alexander's duet cover of "It's a Sin" has now gone on sale as a single in a previously recorded studio rendition produced by Stuart Price and the Pet Shop Boys. (Rumor has it that it's what we actually heard during the BRITs broadcast, but I don't know how true that is.) Proceeds from its sales go to the Elton John AIDS Foundation. I've therefore accordingly modified my entry for their performance on my page devoted to remakes of Tennant-Lowe songs.

May 11, 2021

Thanks to Nigel Brand for sharing his observation that the first line of "Cricket Wife" is reminiscent of the opening of the famous poem "Funeral Blues" by W.H. Auden. I've noted this in a new annotation to my commentary on the song. Nigel also shared some other thoughts arising from what the Boys say about the song in Annually 2021, but since I'm still waiting to receive my copy, I'm going to hold off on possibly making use of that information until I've had a chance to read up on it for myself. And thanks as well to Dave F for noting that the final section of the song describes, appropriately enough, a rather old-fashioned and "quintessentially English" scene, something that I had noticed myself but felt was too obvious to comment on until he reminded me that it might not be quite so obvious to everyone. So I've now noted that in what I've written about that part of the song.

Meanwhile, this evening's performance of "It's a Sin" by Elton John and Olly Alexander on the BRIT music awards broadcast is now available to watch on YouTube. I've now mentioned this performance on my covers page.

May 10, 2021

Thanks to leesmapman for pointing out that "Cricket Wife" belongs in my list of Pet Shop Boys lyrics that don't contain the title. ("Cricket wives" plural are mentioned, but not "cricket wife" singular.) I've now made that addition.

May 8, 2021

As I had previously with the audio CD components of the Pet Shop Boys' Pandemonium and Inner Sanctum sets, I've now posted a new album page devoted to the CD component of the newly released DiscoVery - Live in Rio 1994 DVD/CD set. I've also added this recording to my "Albums and Songs" page. Thanks to John McFadden for giving me the nudge I needed to add DiscoVery to my Pet Shop Boys' U.K. and U.S. Pop Chart History page, seeing as how it has appeared at #31 on the official U.K. albums chart. (I was already aware of this fact and had noted it on my new page devoted to the album, but I had neglected to add it to the chart history page.) And thanks as well to Dave F. for pointing out some outdated references in my entry for "I Will Survive" (which the Boys performed in a medley with "It's a Sin" during the DiscoVery Tour shows), which I've now corrected.

Judging by comments I've read online, it's been quite some time since any PSB track has caused as much dissention and, to be blunt, dissatsifaction among fans as "Cricket Wife." (I believe the most recent such tracks include "Legacy" from 2009 and "Hold On" from 2012.) Since my own analysis of the song posted here on my website is more descriptive and interpretive than critical in nature (as is my habit), a couple of my regular site visitors have written to ask whether I actually like it. Let me put it like this – I don't dislike it, and I greatly appreciate, respect, and even admire what Chris and Neil are doing with it. I like it when artists challenge themselves and try new things. I find the music interesting, but it's early yet, and I'm still getting my head around it, so to speak. As for the lyrics, I find them fascinating and, toward the end, deeply moving once I grasped what was going on in the song's narrative. Will it ever rank among my PSB favorites? Surely not. It's far too atypical, deviating as it does from much of what made me a fan in the first place. But it probably won't ever fall into my "dislikes" list, either. Time will tell how it will actually place in my long-term assessment of their work. But, at least for now, I'm savoring it.

Incidentally, I will undoubtedly be running a "Ratings Project" survey for "Cricket Wife" at some point, but it's much too soon for that. I'll wait until I can be confident the vast majority of fans have had a chance not only to hear it but to have had time to formulate longer-term opinions about it. I would guess that would be at least 6-8 weeks from now. I'll keep you posted!

May 5, 2021

I've now taken my first crack at discussing the Pet Shop Boys' new track "Cricket Wife." (If you can't see my revised, expanded text, you may need to clear your memory cache and reload the page in order to update it.) It's an ambitious, even challenging song, and it's very likely I'll be making some adjustments—changes, additions, and/or deletions—in the days ahead as I take more time to "absorb" and think about it. Thanks to Rory Simpson for pointing out that the line "Not such a bad innings" may carry a double meaning, which I describe in an expansion on the annotation that I had already created concerning that expression. And thanks as well to Chris Payne (aka "Dog") of the Pet Shop Boys Community Forum who, spinning off from my reading of the song, has offered a slightly different interpretation that, while I don't fully embrace it myself, has a lot of merit. I've therefore made note of it in my entry for the song. And I've added Chris's name to my Thank You page.

May 4, 2021

My mood this morning has gone from one of steaming anger to absolute delight. Allow me to explain—

Shortly after getting out of bed this morning, I checked my phone and found a message from my credit card company that my transaction with Digital Stores to purchase Annually 2021 including the new "Cricket Wife" CD—an order I had placed months ago—had been rejected. I quickly logged in to my computer and found verification of the same with an email from Digital Stores. Furiously, I contacted my credit card company to learn why this transaction had been canceled. To make a long story short, they found it "suspicious" and had tried to contact me for verification—at 1:59 a.m. when I was sound asleep and my phone was turned off! (I'm tired of being awakened by junk calls/texts in the wee hours of the morning.) Not receiving a prompt response from me, they rejected it out of an overabundance of caution in this fraud-laden age. I explained to them that it was indeed a legitimate transaction and asked them to go ahead and authorize it. I was told, however, that it was too late for them to do anything about it, and it was up to me to contact the vendor to place the order again. I then attempted to do this online, but learned that Annually 2021 was sold out and no more orders were being accepted. So I dashed off an email to Digital Stores, explaining the situation and asking whether I might still be able to obtain the copy I had previously ordered. I was steaming.

Now the good part. It took less than an hour for a representative of Digital Stores to get back to me, very helpfully letting me know how I could go about re-placing my order. The instructions she provided worked perfectly! My order was reinstated, and Annually 2021 should be on its way to me shortly. Woo-hoo!

In short, if any of you have encountered a similar problem—and if it happened to me, then something like this may have happened to at least some of you, too—don't despair! Contact Digital Stores Support about it ASAP and you may get as quick a resolution as I did. Good luck!

Meanwhile, thanks to Steve N. for pointing out that the line "This is all happening so fast" in the PSB song "Winner" may be a mild pun—though perhaps an unintentional one—in that being "fast" is vital to the winners of a race or in any sport or game in which speed is an important factor. I've noted this fact in a new annotation to my commentary on that song.

May 3, 2021

Thanks to both Gary Beavan from Nottingham and porkchopkid for letting me know that a brief instrumental bit of "Invisible" was used in yesterday's edition of the BBC1 television show Countryfile. I've noted this in the entry for that song at #58 in my list of Pet Shop Boys songs used in non-musical films and TV shows.

As noted yesterday in a "Pet Text" on the Pet Shop Boys' official website, Amazon is "bizarrely crediting the Discovery DVD/CD release to James Taylor and with artwork showing a German singer." I observed that problem myself several weeks ago and alerted Amazon customer service about it at that time. They got back to me the very next day and assured me that the DVD/CD that I had already ordered would indeed be the PSB release. And, sure enough, the correct Pet Shop Boys package arrived in my mailbox on Saturday. Yet, incredibly, those errors remain on the Amazon website. WTF!? I mean, it's not rocket science to fix something like that. In the meantime, the Boys are, as they state, "still waiting for them to correct it and apologise." Let's hope Amazon pays more attention to Neil and Chris themselves than it did to me.

May 1, 2021

Some of you have already written to me about the DiscoVery DVD package, noting that its booklet includes information that I may find useful here on my website and offering to provide details. Thanks, but my own copy is slated to arrive sometime today (knock on wood). My personal schedule will, however, likely prevent me from even opening the box until quite late this evening. Tomorrow is going to be a very busy day for me, too. Whatever the case, I'm sure I'll be able to make any pertinent updates here by sometime Monday, or Tuesday at the latest.

April 27, 2021

Thanks to Matteo for pointing out a mistake and oversight that I've now rectified. I had listed "Sento Che Mi Senti Che Ti Sento" among titles that have been mistakenly identified as unreleased songs written by the Pet Shop Boys, erroneously associating it with Matia Bazar's "Ti Sento," which Chris had included among his Back to Mine choices. But Matteo correctly observed that it's actually an Italian-language remake of "I Don't Know What You Want But I Can't Give It Any More" by Cristiano Malgioglio, which I had already long included in my list of Tennant-Lowe songs covered by other artists. I just hadn't put 2 and 2 together, so to speak. But I've now made the adjustments necessary to eliminate this confusion. Thanks again, Matteo!

I've only now noticed on their official website that the Boys' scheduled July 3, 2021 concert in Istanbul has been canceled (as opposed to simply being rescheduled like most of the other Dreamworld Tour shows). I've updated my PSB Tours page accordingly.

April 25, 2021

Thanks to Michael from Kassel, Germany, for catching a typo, now corrected, in my entry just below for April 24.

April 24, 2021

Thanks to John McFadden for letting me know that Cicero has himself confirmed that his rendition of "She Has a Way," produced by the Pet Shop Boys, was planned for single release. But, for whatever reason, that never came to pass. I've updated my new entry for that song accordingly.

April 23, 2021

"Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)" has once again dropped to #2 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Digital Song Sales chart. It will be interesting to see whether its run of five non-consecutive weeks at #1 on that chart is now complete or whether its use in that Allstate commercial, which continues to appear on U.S. television—I saw it again myself just this morning—inspires additional time at the top in the weeks ahead.

April 22, 2021

Thanks so much to Nenad P. for informing me that former Pet Shop Boys protegé Cicero has posted on his YouTube channel the original 1992 "PSB Mix"—actually, it would seem to be a full-fledged PSB production, though likely done with Pete Gleadall's substantial involvement—of his remake of Bobby Orlando's "She Has a Way." This leads me to grant that song its own new entry here on my website. Let me say right up front, however, that there still appear to be some gaps in this story, so I'll probably be making updates, additions, and/or corrections in the days ahead. I welcome any authoritative input anyone might be able to share.

April 21, 2021

Thanks to Grims for telling me about the pending April 30 release Pet Shop Boys Covers, a various-artists compilation. Several of its tracks have seen previous release and had already been noted on my page devoted to remakes of Tennant-Lowe songs. But I've now added those that I hadn't previously listed. If you would like to learn more about this upcoming release and perhaps pre-order it, you may do so online. (It will apparently be available both as a digital album and, in a nice "retro" touch, on cassette tape.)