What's New? – Recent Updates & Additions

February 27, 2021

A really nice thing about running this website is that when I express my own uncertainty about something regarding the Pet Shop Boys, it usually doesn't take long for one or more of my site visitors to "fill the gap," so to speak. Such is the case with my quandary yesterday (see just below) concerning "Je T'Aime… Moi Non Plus" and why it was exclused from Format. Micheal Fick wrote to me today to point out that, in Issue 38 of the PSB Fan Club magazine Literally, the Boys noted that they considered it a Sam Taylor-Wood track, not a Pet Shop Boys track, so they intentionally left it off Format despite its having served as a single b-side. (Of course, as I had previously noted, the fact that the Format discs were already very nearly packed to capacity with other music may have given their rationale additional reinforcement, if any were needed.) I've updated the aforementioned new annotation accordingly. Thanks so much, Michael!

February 26, 2021

One of my site visitors wrote to me today to ask whether I knew why Neil and Chris left "Je T'Aime… Moi Non Plus" off of Format and the 2017 Nightlife reissue "Further Listening" bonus discs. In short, no, I don't know why, although I can speculate about several possible (but ultimately unsatisfying) explanations. This isn't, however, the first time someone has asked me this question; it's happened on at least two previous occasions. So I figure it's high time that I offer my meager attempt to address this matter as a new annotation to my commentary page about that song. Thanks so much to Lawrence and those who had previously asked this question (whose names I can no longer recall) for asking me about this! [Update: Another site visitor, as noted in the next day's entry, just above, has enabled me to answer this question much more definitively, resulting in a major revision to that annotation.]

February 25, 2021

Paul Weller has announced that "Cosmic Fringes," the lead song (and, it appears, single) from his upcoming album Fat Pop (Volume 1), has been remixed by the Pet Shop Boys, although it is yet to be determined precisely when or how their remix will be released. (It apparently won't appear on the album itself, slated for May release.) In anticipation of this release, I've created a new "placeholder" page for that song and I've added Weller to my list of artists with whom the Boys have collaborated. If you would like to hear this new song, it's available on YouTube, but please note that this is NOT the PSB remix, which remains unreleased at this time.

February 23, 2021

Exciting news! The Pet Shop Boys have just announced on their official website that the 2021 edition of their annual fan publication Annually—ordering details of which will apparently be posted next week—will be accompanied by a special two-track CD single. As they state there, it will feature a new song nearly ten minutes in length titled "Cricket Wife" that they describe as both "dramatic" and "orchestral." They go on to note that it "was written as a classical-style instrumental piece by Chris over which Neil sang lyrics taken from a poem he had written." The other track will be the "lockdown version" of "West End Girls" that they debuted online this past June. I guess all this answers, at least in part, a question that many fans have posed with regard to how the Boys have been occupying themselves during the pandemic. I'm sure we'll be learning much more shortly. In the meantime, I've created a "placeholder" page for this new song. And thanks to Rory Simpson for providing a couple of clarifying details about "cricketers" and "cricket wives," which proved quite helpful to a Yank like me. I'll expand on it as additional details become available. Stay tuned!

A week ago I reported here that "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)" had recharted in Billboard at #5 on its Electronic/Dance Digital Song Sales chart (documenting downloads and streaming) in the wake of its use in a Super Bowl commercial for Allstate Insurance. This week it advances all the way up to #1 on that chart—a truly remarkable feat for a roughly 35-year-old recording! I've noted this fact both in a new bullet-point addendum to my main entry for that song as well as a footnote on my page devoted to the Pet Shop Boys' status as the kings of the U.S. dance charts.

Meanwhile, thanks to Rob Bainbridge for letting me know that "It's a Sin" could be heard during today's episode of the BBC1 news show South Today, which I've noted in the entry for that song at #21 in my list of PSB tracks used in non-musical TV shows and films.

February 22, 2021

Andrew Shaw let me know about another Closer to Heaven actor who has appeared in Doctor Who-related dramas, which has inspired me to modify pre-existing entry #24 in my list of Pet Shop Boys/Doctor Who connections to provide a list of all the actors—at least of whom we know so far—with both in common. This affects the first half of my February 19 notice below. Thanks, Andrew!

February 21, 2021

Thanks to Jens Boldt for letting me know that the opening bit of "Burning the Heather" is briefly used in the recent German television news documentary Wir machen weiter – trotz Corona! ("We Carry On – Despite Corona!"). I've noted this in a new entry for that song at #100 in my list of Pet Shop Boys songs used in non-musical TV shows and films.

February 19, 2021

Thanks to Andrew Shaw for informing me of a new Pet Shop Boys/Doctor Who connection, which I've added to the appropriate list at #36. (Webmaster's note: I've "struck this through" because this item, while still quite valid, has been modified in its "expression" on this website, as noted in the February 22 entry above.)

Both Andrew and Rob Bainbridge have told me about Sophie Ellis-Bextor's recent rendition of "It's a Sin" during a one of her pandemic-inspired "Kitchen Disco" postings. I'm undecided, however, whether to add this to my list of PSB cover versions because it strikes me as essentially a karaoke-style performance, which I've specifically disqualified. Still, her status as a major star may persuade me to make an exception in her case. I'm mulling it over. But, regardless of what I ultimately decide, thanks so much to both Rob (who was the first to contact me about it) and Andrew for clueing me in.

February 18, 2021

Thanks to Daniel B. for pointing out that two Stephin Merritt songs, "BBC Radiophonic Workshop" and "Love Gone Wrong," share certain links with the Pet Shop Boys (via "Radiophonic" and "Mein Teil"), which I've now noted in my list of PSB/Merrit "connections" in my list of my other favorite artists.

It's certainly worth noting that two classic Pet Shop Boys songs—"Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)" and "West End Girls"—have suddenly entered Billboard magazine's Dance/Electronic Digital Sales chart (at #5 and #23 respectively), propelled by the recent appearance of the first of those songs in a Super Bowl ad for AllState Insurance. I wouldn't be surprised if "It's a Sin" were similarly to appear on that chart soon as the result of today's U.S. debut of the It's a Sin TV series. In fact, that song's digital sales and streams in the U.K., where the series debuted roughly three weeks ago, have already seen a huge surge. Stay tuned!

February 16, 2021

Thanks to Artem O. for noting a broken link, now fixed, on my page devoted to the song "A Man Could Get Arrested."

February 10, 2021

Thanks to Londonnoise for catching and reporting a typo, now corrected, in my list of officially unreleased songs written by the Pet Shop Boys.

February 7, 2021

A commercial for Allstate insurance that debuted during today's broadcast of Super Bowl LV employed the Pet Shop Boys' "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)." I've noted this fact in the entry for that song at #10 in my list of PSB songs that have been used in TV commercials.

Thanks to Michael Fick for a little "nudge" he offered that has inspired me to modify my update yesterday about the Dr. Alban hit "No Coke" and its likely influence on some of the remixes of "How Can You Expect to Be Taken Seriously?" (see just below) that "No Coke" was not a hit in the U.K. but rather on the European continent.

February 6, 2021

Thanks to Eddie Xavier for pointing out the likely influence of the 1990 European hit "No Coke" by Swedish producer Dr. Alban on the Brothers in Rhythm "Perfect Attitude" single and video remixes of the Pet Shop Boys' "How Can You Expect to Be Taken Seriously?" I've noted this distinct possibility in a new addendum to my entry for that song. If you would like to have a listen to the Dr. Alban track to assess this matter for yourself, it's readily available on YouTube.

Thanks as well to Jens Boldt for letting me know that "Later Tonight" is used early on and then again at the end of the 2018 German film In My Room. I've therefore added that song at #99 in my list of Pet Shop Boys songs used in non-musical films and TV shows.

February 3, 2021

The Pet Shop Boys' official website has just announced rescheduled dates (again) for their Dreamworld Tour on account of the global pandemic. I've noted these new 2022 dates on my PSB Tours page. Several of the 2021 dates, however, have not yet been rescheduled. We don't know yet whether these planned concerts will be canceled altogether, rescheduled later with dates yet to be announced, or perhaps even continue as scheduled in 2021 (though I believe this third possibility is most unlikely). Rather than delete them altogether, I've retained them in the list but have shaded them in blue and placed a question mark before each to indicate their uncertainty at this time. We also don't yet know whether their Unity Tour of North America with New Order will proceed as planned in 2021, so I've retained them as well. We should know more about these shows shortly.

Thanks once more to kfos, this time for letting me know that the Pet Shop Boys had performed at several additional venues that also hosted events at the 2012 Olympics, which I've now cited in an expansion on Item #9 (admittedly tenuous as it is) in my list of PSB connections to the 2012 Olympics.

Thanks to Paul Atkin for informing me of Stickipop's new cover version of "To Face the Truth," which I've noted on my page devoted to remakes of Tennant-Lowe songs. And thanks as well to Rob Bainbridge for letting me know about a rendition of "It's a Sin" by Minute Taker (known by many PSB fans for his innovative cover some years ago of "Heart"). He actually recorded it back in 2009, but held off on releasing it until 2018 on his album Secret Songs - Volume 3: Covers. I've noted that as well.

I'm also indebted to Rob Bainbridge for telling me that the aforementioned "It's a Sin" was played at the start of tonight's edition of the U.K. sports show Match of the Day as the music accompanying a montage of football (soccer) goals. So I've added this to the entry for that song t #21 in my list of Pet Shop Boys songs used in non-musical films and TV shows. Thanks again, Rob!

February 2, 2021

Thanks to long-time site visitor and contributor kfos for sharing this photo with me, taken at a Scottish football (soccer) match from Kilmarnock Stadium. As you can see, a giant banner is on display featuring a rendition of Chris taken from one of the "Suburbia" sleeves. As it turns out, staunch Kilmarnock fans refer to themselves as "Paninaro," and of course the Pet Shop Boys song with that title was first released as the b-side for the "Suburbia" single. Fascinating!

January 31, 2021

Thanks to John Szolscek (whose name I've added to my Thank You page) for letting me know that Vince Clarke mentions Chris Lowe in the new documentary The Sparks Brothers, a fact that I've added to my list of "PSB-Erasure connections" on my page devoted to my other favorite artists. It's a bit of a stretch as a "connection," but I really like what Vince says, so it makes the cut.