What's New? – Recent Updates & Additions

July 21, 2018

Thanks to porkchopkid for letting me know about a recently videotaped re-creation (minus the vocals) using "period instruments" of a classic very early performance on television by the Pet Shop Boys of "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)." (Please be patient—it takes about 20 seconds for the music to kick in.) In case you're not familiar with the original performance (on the U.K. TV show Whistle Test), here it is on YouTube.

July 19, 2018

Thanks to Simon from Newcastle for telling me about "Man Down," a recent single by U.K. soul/hip-hop artist Shakka (with guest vocalist AlunaGeorge), which includes a brief lyrical nod to a certain Pet Shop Boys classic in the form of the following line from the start of its third verse: "It was all good for the East End girl, West End boy." I don't believe this actually qualifies for any of my lists, but at least I can make temporary note of it here. If you would like to hear this track for yourself, it's available on YouTube and elsewhere.

July 18, 2018

Thanks to porkchopkid for sharing with me a fascinating BBC Music News article about the remarkable Now That's What I Call Music album series. Buried amidst its assorted "records" and "trivia" is a list of the top ten artists with the longest span of years of inclusion in the series (posthumous entries excluded). I'm delighted to see that the Pet Shop Boys make the list, their 23-year span (1986-2009) earning them a tie for sixth place with Paul McCartney (1984-2007). Surprisingly, at least according to the Now That's What I Call Music website, the very first PSB song included in the series was not "West End Girls," but rather "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)"; the last was "Love etc." To be sure, "West End Girls" has indeed appeared on certain special Now albums outside of the main series, but those are "retrospective" appearances that occurred after 1986 and "Opportunities." As I said, fascinating! Thanks again, porkchopkid!

By the way, in case you're wondering, I did actually once attempt, about a year ago, to put together a new page for my "Lists" section of all Pet Shop Boys appearances in the Now series. But it simply became too confusing and convoluted for my peace of mind, what with all the different versions for different countries and all those "special" releases. No, some lists are better left alone. wink

July 15, 2018

I've posted the final results of my survey of the past two weeks, in which I asked my site visitors to pick their favorite Pet Shop Boys studio album "side" or "half." My new poll for the following two weeks asks whether you would like for the Boys to record and release at some point an album of collaborations with other artists and, if so, what sort of tracks it should consist of. Thanks to porkchopkid for suggesting this question!

July 10, 2018

Happy birthday to Neil!

If you, my site visitors, haven't already done so, you may want to visit this website where you can post your own birthday greetings to Neil. (It's the exact same link that the official Pet Shop Boys website is pointing to.)

July 8, 2018

Last night I had my first "PSB dream" in nearly five months, one that was surely influenced by the 2018 World Cup Tournament—which, incidentally, appears to be receiving far more coverage and attention here in the States than ever before, undoubtedly a reflection of the ever-growing love of soccer on these shores. Interestingly, the title of one of many unreleased Pet Shop Boys songs also worked its way into this dream. If you would like to read about it, please check out the page devoted to such workings of my subconsciousness.

July 6, 2018

I've just learned that a new stage musical called Dusty—written by Jonathan Harvey, who had previously collaborated with the Pet Shop Boys on their own stage musical Closer to Heaven—has begun touring Britain. It presents a dramatized life of Dusty Springfield, portrayed by Katherine Kingsley. From what I've read, one of the show's climactic moments is her performance of "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" In fact, of the reviews I've read so far, no fewer than four different critics agree that it's one of the true highlights of the production. I don't know yet whether she sings it against a specially modified original recording featuring Neil Tennant's voice or whether another performer assumes the role and vocals of Neil (and perhaps with someone playing Chris as well). As soon as I know more, I'll provide details. In the meantime, I've made at least tentative note of all this under the entry for that song on my page that lists cover versions of Pet Shop Boys songs. Thanks so much to my online correspondent who told me about this. I'm not yet identifying her by name, however, pending permission and instructions for doing so. And if you're interested in learning a little more about this new musical yourself—including upcoming show dates and venues—I invite you to visit its official website.

Thanks to Eke Webb for alerting me to a rather subtle difference in the recently released 2018 Please remaster of "Violence" compared to its older version. In the original "pre-remaster" recording, Neil intones the title twice during the brief otherwise instrumental break starting at around 1:20, but in the 2018 remaster he says "violence" three times during that same interval. It's a small but fascinating difference, one that I think is worth mentioning in my "Mixes" notes for the song, which I've now done. Thanks again, Eke!

July 4, 2018

Happy Independence Day to my fellow U.S. PSB fans!

As announced just the other day on the Pet Shop Boys' official website, they (in collaboration with designer Jeffrey Bryant) are among the artists who have created customized trainers—better known as "sneakers" or "tennis shoes" here in the States—that are currently being auctioned off on eBay to benefit the Albert Kennedy Trust charity for homeless LGBT youth. I checked this morning and was delighted to see that, of the 35 pairs of shoes in the auction, the PSB entry is the one that has so far attracted both the most bids and, by far, the highest bid. As of this writing, that bid is £838 (which, with the current exchange rate, equates to a little over US$1,100). The next-highest bid is a for pair created by Kate Moss, at this time being £490. Naturally, seeing as how this auction is scheduled to run for more than a week yet, those figures will undoubtedly change. Incidentally, it appears that the design of the PSB/Bryant trainers is inspired by the famous "mirror jacket" that Chris wore onstage during the 2009 Pandemonium Tour (#8 in my list of favorite "sartorial statements by Chris), which, if I'm not mistaken, was also designed by Bryant.

July 3, 2018

I've happened upon yet another metal remake of "It's a Sin," this time by the Argentine band Quiar (which I imagine is meant to be pronounced like "choir"), who describe their style of music as "black metal." (Not so surprisingly, their logo features the "i" in the middle of "Quiar" presented as an upside-down cross.) It's from their brand new album Cadencias de Antaño, which translates literally to "Cadences of Old" or "Old Cadences," though since it's an album of covers, perhaps "Old Songs" or "Old Music" is a more apt translation. Of course, I've now noted it on my page that lists remakes of Tennant-Lowe songs. If you would like to hear it for yourself, it's available on YouTube.

July 1, 2018

Happy Canada Day to my friends and site-visitors north of the border!

I've posted the final results of my poll of the past two weeks, in which I asked my site visitors whether they would like for the Pet Shop Boys to release a Disco 5 album at some point. My new survey for the two weeks ahead asks you to choose your favorite PSB studio album "side"—that is, not your favorite entire studio album by the Boys, but rather your favorite side of one of their studio albums, or "half-album," if you will. (For Electric, which, as far as I know, was never released as a single vinyl disc but rather as two vinyl discs, I'm treating each of its discs as if it were a "side," thereby still maintaining the "half-album" concept.)

Meanwhile, thanks so much to "eggnog from stockport" for supplying some missing information about the origin of one of my favorite PSB mashups: "She's Minimal Like the Wind," which (naturally) blends the Pet Shop Boys' "Minimal" with Patrick Swayze's one-hit wonder "She's Like the Wind." I've now made the appropriate updates to my entry for that particular mashup.

June 29, 2018

Thanks to Rory Simpson for alerting me to a fact that deserves mention on my "On This Day in Pet Shop Boys History" page, although it won't actually show up there until November 28; namely, that it was on that date in 1985 that the Boys were first mentioned on Top of the Pops (although they wouldn't make their first live appearance on that legendary show until a week later).

And thanks as well to John Hunt for giving me a nudge about something I was already aware of but which I didn't think worth mentioning here until now: the fact that Allee Willis, who collaborated with Chris and Neil in writing "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" was recently inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame—an honor not yet granted, however, to our musical heroes. In case you're wondering what else she has done to deserve this particular recognition, here's just a partial list of the many other songs she has written or co-written: "The Blue Side," "September," "Lead Me On," "Boogie Wonderland," "I'll Be There for You" (better known as the theme song for Friends), "Neutron Dance," "Live My Life," "Shaker Song," "Planet Love," and "Street Beat," as well as lyrics for the stage musical The Color Purple. Now, I wonder how long it will be before Tennant and Lowe are inducted as well.

Finally, thanks to Raymond for catching a spelling error, now corrected, in my commentary on the song "In Bits."

June 22, 2018

Thanks to Luca Padovani for bringing to my attention an extremely subtle instrumental "flourish," if you will, that occurs toward the end of "In Bits." I've described this in a new annotation to my main commentary on the song.

June 20, 2018

Thanks so much to Stuart R for telling me about a parody of the PSB "Go West" video that aired on a 2004 episode of the U.K. television show Fantasy Football League. I've noted this in a new entry at #46 (please don't put any stock in the numbering; it seems more or less random, but I do have my own bizarre rationale) in my list of performance parodies of the Pet Shop Boys. If you wish to see the relevant clip for yourself, it's available on YouTube.