What's New? – Recent Updates & Additions

January 24, 2020

I've now had a chance to "digest" the first two Hotspot tracks, "Will-o-the-wisp" and "You Are the One," at least enough for me to provide my initial analyses. Please keep in mind, however, that these are only early impressions, and I'll probably have revisions and/or more to add in the days ahead. But first I'll turn my attention to the remaining five songs (the albums' three singles to date having already been addressed), which I hope to spend some time with later today as my schedule permits. Assuming you're interested, please stay tuned!

January 23, 2020

I have a special request regarding the new album Hotspot. As of this writing, I haven't received my copy (Amazon states that it will arrive tomorrow, Friday, "by 8 p.m."), so I haven't heard it yet. But even after hearing it, I'm sure it will take me at least several listens before I'll be comfortable writing very much about its songs here. So I ask that you not send me any "spoilers" or observations of your own until I've had a chance to post my own first analyses, which probably won't be until Saturday, Sunday, or Monday at the very latest. I'll let you know when that's done. After that, however, feel free to share your own thoughts about them with me. Thanks so much in advance!

The new vid for "Monkey Business" premiered today, so I've added it to my page that provides capsule summaries of their music videos. If you would like to see it for yourself, it's up and running on YouTube.

Meanwhile, one of my site visitors has kindly informed me that the trailer for the 2019 British film Greed, which doesn't go into general distribution until next month, prominently features the Pet Shop Boys' "It's a Sin"—greed of course being one of the seven deadly ones. We haven't yet been able to determine, however, whether the song is used in the film itself. (It's not unusual for movie trailers to use music that doesn't actually appear in the movies they're promoting.) So I'll try to keep an eye out for this, and I hope some of you will do the same. If we find that "It's a Sin" does indeed appear in the film, I'll of course add a note about it to my list of PSB songs used in non-musical films and TV shows.

January 22, 2020

There's certainly no shortage of notices and reviews about the Pet Shop Boys' soon (very soon, as in day-after-tomorrow) to be released album Hotspot, nearly all of which heap glowing praise on it, or at least sound a predominately positive note. But I want to point you to a new article on the BBC website that isn't really "about" Hotspot but rather has been "triggered" by it. It's a superb distillation by Nick Levine of how the Boys are, in the words of the article's preface, "a unique musical force." Enjoy!

January 21, 2020

Having received his permission to do so, I've added Christian Stoltz's name to my Thank You page in recognition of his suggestion about wordplay in "Wedding in Berlin," as noted yesterday (see below).

I also extend my thanks to Julián Puga (also now added to the aforementioned Thank You page) for noticing the very likely influence of Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film classic 2001: A Space Odyssey on one scene from the Pet Shop Boys' "I Don't Know What You Want But I Can't Give It Any More" video. I've now pointed this out in my entry for that song on my page that provides capsule summaries of their music videos. And in case you're wondering about it, I'm sharing the two images here offering by Julián as evidence—the top shot obviously from the music video and the one below it from the film. No doubt about it, if you ask me. I'm just amazed that the Boys would go to the bother and possible expense considering the brevity of that scene in the video!

January 20, 2020

More than a month ago, one of my site visitors wrote to suggest that some wordplay might be going on in the title "Wedding in Berlin" since there's a borough of Berlin named "Wedding," though it's pronounced with a "V" sound. I replied that we should wait until we learn more before speculating about it in print. Well, Neil has just confirmed that "there's a little pun in the title" in a new interview with the Stack entertainment site. Therefore I've now made note of this fact in an annotation. Thanks to Christian Stoltz for making that initial suggestion last month. Meanwhile, in that same interview, Neil provides a bit of information about what's going on in another Hotspot song, "Happy People," so I've cited this as well.

January 19, 2020

Thanks to Michael from Kassel, Germany for reminding me of the 2019 London revival of Closer to Heaven, which I had neglected to mention in my overall information about the show. I've now corrected that oversight. Michael has also provided (courtesy of info gleaned from the recent interview in Musikexpress magazine) some details about the Hotspot track "I Don't Wanna," including that it specifically refers to the big 1992 hit "Rhythm Is a Dancer" by the German group Snap! This earns it a spot at #11 in my list of pop songs the title of which are mentioned in Pet Shop Boys lyrics.

Thanks as well to Grims for telling me about a brand new cover of "This Must Be the Place I've Waited Years to Leave" by the German band The Guy I'm Into. I've noted this on my page that lists remakes of Tennant-Lowe songs. And if you would like to hear it yourself, you may do so online.

January 17, 2020

Hotspot is now just one week away! As we eagerly await it, I extend my thanks to FormerEnfantTerrible for sharing some information obtained from a new interview with the Pet Shop Boys on a Spanish website, Shangay.com—specifically, the origin of the image gracing the cover of the new album and the fact (which I had heard previously but hadn't yet commented on) that there will be a music video for "Monkey Business."

It's well worth noting here that another interviewer, longtime fan Steve Pafford, reports that PSB will release a Disco 5 album later this year. Woo-hoo!

January 16, 2020

I'm very sorry that it had to come to this, but I've now removed the "Comments" feature from my current poll, and won't resume allowing comments on future polls for the foreseeable future. I have several good reasons for taking this drastic step:

  • One or more persons have been repeatedly leveling personal insults toward other specific persons—sometimes libelous in nature, which exposes me to legal liabilities;
  • "Impersonations": comment-posters claiming to be other people, using their names without authorization;
  • And, most recently, statements that would seem to advocate physical threats against particular people.

Please note that shutting down "Comments" is not a violation of "freedom of speech." While people do, to some extent, have the right to insult others, they do not have a right to do so if those insults are libelous, are done under false pretenses, or involve physical threats. (This is setting aside the fact that "freedom of speech" applies to the relationship of personal liberty to government power—not to that of personal liberty to private individuals or to privately owned media outlets.)

It's terrible that a small handful of people—perhaps as few as just one or two—have forced my hand in ths way. In fact, I'm now convinced that one or more of the problematic comment-posters aren't even fans of the Pet Shop Boys seeing as how one of them recently posted a rather vile statement about one of them.

As the old complaint goes, "This is why we can't have nice things."

Please accept my apologies, both for deleting the "Comments" feature and for any insults or threats that may have been leveled in recent weeks through this website. But taking action in this way to eliminate this problem is the responsible thing to do.

For those of you who, like me, care about such things, I'm very pleased that Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails have been elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This bodes well for the Pet Shop Boys receiving the same honor sometime down the road—although, based on past statements, it's an honor they themselves might not care for. Of course, DM and NIN have long had more "rock cred" than PSB, largely by virtue of more guitars, sharper edges, and darker demeanors. Nevertheless, critics tend to look favorably upon the Boys, so it's a distinct possibility, if not likelihood. Time will tell. At any rate, I've updated my page that lists my "other" favorite artists accordingly.

January 14, 2020

Thanks to Musicoloog (whom I've just added to my Thank You page) for reminding me that each of the tracks on the upcoming album Hotspot will also be officially released in instrumental form as part of the special two-disc edition of the album. So I've noted the instrumental versions among the official mixes/versions for each track. Please note, by the way, that the timings I've listed for the still-unreleased tracks are based on information I've obtained from Apple Music. I have no first-hand knowledge at this time whether those lengths are accurate, and I will later correct them if I find them to be in error.

"Dreamland" has dropped to #8 on the Billboard Dance Club Play chart, meaning that its position of the past two weeks at #6 will almost certainly be its peak. I've made the appropriate adjustment to my page that documents their success on the U.S. dance charts. While this may be a bit disappointing, it's nonetheless pretty darn impressive for an act that's now entering its fifth decade on those charts and has been both the most successful band (that is, non-solo act) and the most successful males there for more than 20 years.

January 12, 2020

I've posted the final results of my survey of the past two weeks, in which I asked my site visitors to choose what they consider to be the "Pet Shop Boys highlight" of 2019. My new poll asks your opinion of the Boys' upcoming Dreamworld Tour being designated a "greatest hits" tour. Are you pleased with the prospect of them playing only hits? Does it disappoint you? Do you take it with the proverbial grain of salt? Do you simply not care one way or the other? I'm eager to learn what my fellow fans think about this!

Thanks so much to Niall McIlroy for sharing with me a great deal of information obtained from his recent telephone interview with Neil Tennant, which I've used to make scattered updates to my still somewhat preliminary pages for Hotspot and several of its tracks. And thanks as well to Danny Bende for noticing that today's entry on my "On This Day in PSB History" page made an outdated reference to "You Are the One," one of the songs on that soon-to-be-released album, which I've now updated appropriately.

I may be wrong about this—Billboard doesn't appear to be as forthcoming to the general, non-subscribing public with its current charts as it used to be—but it appears that "Dreamland" may be spending a second week at #6 on the Dance Club Play chart.

Finally, I've created and posted "placeholder" pages for all of the other Hotspot songs, adding them for the tracks that the general public, myself included, haven't yet heard. That's why they're merely placeholders.

January 10, 2020

It's hard to believe, but it wasn't until this past Tuesday that a certain Pet Shop Boys song first released more than thirty years ago finally made its first appearance (at least that I know of) on a non-musical television show. It was "That's My Impression" and it was on Homes Under the Hammer, a U.K. program that has used PSB songs on many occasions. This earns the song a spot at #92 in my list of Pet Shop Boys songs used in non-musical films and TV shows. Thanks so much to Adrian Williams for telling me about this!

January 9, 2020

In response to a small debate that has arisen among online fans about whether there ought to be a comma following the word "Girls" in the title of the Pet Shop Boys song "Girls Don't Cry" has inspired me to add a new bullet-point annotation to my commentary on the song. If you like, please check it out!

January 7, 2020

Thanks to C.M. (whom I've just added to my Thank You page) for pointing out that a reference I made to "Monkey Business" in my older entry for "Pazzo!" was outdated. I've now made the appropriate adjustments.

January 6, 2020

Thanks to Steve N. for writing to suggest that the line about "diamonds in the sky" in "Monkey Business" may borrow from and harken metaphorically back to singer Rihanna's 2012 single "Diamonds," which also mentions "diamonds in the sky." I've noted this most intriguing observation in a new bullet-point annotation to my commentary on the song.

Thanks also to Marco Lucht for pointing out that "Decide" was produced and mixed by Stuart Price. I've updated my entry for that song accordingly.

January 5, 2020

Thanks to Josie for letting me know that during his appearance today on Desert Island Discs, actor, director, and writer Rupert Everett named the Pet Shop Boys classic "Being Boring" not only as one of his choices but also the one disc he would save above all others. I've now noted this in my list devoted to such selections. Spinning off from this, thanks to Andrew Shaw for suggesting that Mr. Everett now belongs in my list of celebrity fans of PSB outside the field of music, which, based on what he said about them on Desert Island Discs, is more than a fair assumption. So he's now added!

Thanks as well to Eke Webb for noticing a poor—not wholly inaccurate, but less than ideal—choice of wording on my Hotspot page, which I've now modified for the better.

Finally, I'm grateful to John M. from SoCal for noticing an outdated reference (to the age of the longrunning U.S. news program Today) in the entry for "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)" at #6 in my list of Pet Shop Boys fans that have been used in non-musical films and TV shows. Thanks, John!

January 3, 2020

Based on info shared by Neil during his BBC Radio 2 interview yesterday, I've updated my new entry for "Monkey Business," briefly describing the song's inspiration. It's also well worth noting that Neil revealed for the first time that their Dreamworld "Greatest Hits" Tour would very likely continue into Autumn 2020 with dates in the United States. Stay tuned for further news about that!

January 2, 2020

The new Pet Shop Boys track "Monkey Business," the third single from Hotspot, has surfaced online on various websites, such as on Vimeo. This permits me to provide my initial thoughts about the song. (As I kick off my commentary, "Pet Shop Boys get funky.") Once released, the single will also feature the non-album bonus track "At Rock Bottom," for which I've created a "placeholder" page.

Meanwhile, thanks to Andrea Grasso for raising a question that has led me to make an adjustment to the final paragraph of the main body of my entry for the song "Legacy." As longtime fans may recall, around the time the Boys released their 2009 album Yes, they talked about how the Chinese government had objected to the lyrics of its final track. So it was decided that the Chinese edition of Yes would include "Legacy" only as an instrumental. All this time I had assumed this was indeed the case. But, as Andrea has pointed out, there appears to be no evidence at all that such a special "Chinese edition" of Yes, concluding with the "Legacy" instrumental, was actually released. So I've tentatively revised what I write about it to make note of this uncertainty. If, however, any of you can indeed provide solid evidence of that special Chinese edition of Yes, please let me know so that I can get the facts right, once and for all.

January 1, 2020

Happy New Year! And what better way to celebrate the new year here than to state that I've just learned that the Pet Shop Boys are back on the Billboard Dance Club Play chart with "Dreamland," which currently sits at the #6 position! It has resided on that chart for seven weeks now, and its present #6 status is its peak thus far. Seeing as how it jumped this week from #10 to #6, it appears still to have a lot of momentum, so I have high hopes that it will move even farther up in the weeks ahead. At any rate, I've noted this on my page that documents the Boys' tremendous record of success on the U.S. dance charts.

December 29, 2019

I've posted the final results of my poll of the past two weeks, in which I asked my site visitors their general early opinion of the new Pet Shop Boys song "Decide." As for my new survey for the next two weeks, it's my standard year-end question: what, in your opinion, has been the "PSB highlight" of the past year? I hope you'll all give this some thought and make your choice—and thanks!

I learned earlier today that Brenda Lee was not the original singer of "Always on My Mind," as I (and many others) have long believed and as I had stated here on my website. Rather, Gwen McCrae first released the song (as "You Were Always on My Mind") very shortly before Lee's recording came out in 1972. (And B.J. Thomas recorded it before either of them, though his rendition remained unreleased until much later, in 1996.) So I've made a few corresponding adjustments, including on my page devoted to that song and in my list of covers by the Pet Shop Boys and who first recorded them.

Although I had previously determined not to include the recently deceased Allee Willis on my "In Memoriam" page because she had only one true "PSB connection," input from some of my site visitors as well as my own further ruminations on the subject have led me to change my mind. So I've now added her, mainly by virtue of the great importance of that one true connection. Thanks so much to those of you who weighed in on this matter.

December 27, 2019

Thanks to Tobias Gadau for informing me that "Dreamland" was used in today's episode of the long-running German soap opera Unter uns ("Between Us"), which earns that song a place at #91 in my list of Pet Shop Boys songs used in non-musical films and TV shows. He also distinctly recalls "It Doesn't Often Snow at Christmas" being used some years ago in a seasonal episode of the same German sudser, but he doesn't remember precisely when, and we haven't yet been able to determine the date. Nonetheless, I've also noted this in the entry for that song at #48 in the same list. Thanks again, Tobias!

December 26, 2019

A belated Merry Christmas to all of you who observe the holiday! (Technically, it's not truly belated at all since "Christmas" is liturgically the entire period lasting from December 25 through January 5. December 25 is simply the first day of Christmas—that is, "Christmas Day.")

Tthough I have yet to hear the song for myself, I've added the upcoming Hotspot track "Wedding in Berlin" to my list of PSB songs based on classical compositions on account of information the Boys themselves have already shared about it.