What's New? – Recent Updates & Additions

June 18, 2021

Lists

I've now added Chris's and Neil's choices as stated in Annually 2021 to my list of current favorite records selected by the Boys in their Literally/Annually publications.

Corrections and Updates

Thanks to Jeff Schapira for alerting me to a couple of typos and some potentially confusing wording, all now corrected, in my commentary on "Cricket Wife."

June 17, 2021

Personal Observations

I'm very pleased to report that my replacement copy of Annually 2021 (that is, to replace the copy that was apparently returned to the vendor, undelivered), complete with the "Cricket Wife" CD single, arrived this evening via courier (UPS) while we were having dinner.

June 16, 2021

Lists

Thanks to Gavin Kagan for letting me know that the Pet Shop Boys' rendition of "Go West" could be heard on the latest episode of The Great British Sewing Bee. I've now noted this fact in the entry for that song at #47 in my list of PSB tracks used in non-musical films and TV shows.

June 15, 2021

Lists

Seeing as how it was 34 years ago today that "It's a Sin" was released as a single, and inspired by a fellow fan's posting this morning in Facebook—which reminded me of just how great a performance it is—I've added the Pet Shop Boys' rendition of the song at Glastonbury 2000 at #6 in my list of my personal favorite PSB live performances. If you would like to see (or relive) this particular performance yourself, you may do so in YouTube.

June 14, 2021

Interpretations and Annotations

Thanks so much to Mika Hagman for pointing out an apparent discrepancy between how a certain Pet Shop Boys song's lyrics are printed on their official website and what is almost certainly actually sung by Neil. It's in the song "Gin and Jag," where it certainly sounds as if Neil is singing "Boredom abhors a vacuum," as opposed to the text printed in the official website's lyrics section, "Boredom deplores a vacuum" [my emphasis in both cases]. I've noted this disparity in an update to my pre-existing annotation about that line in my entry for the song.

June 10, 2021

Lists

Thanks to Rory Simpson for letting me know that "Rent" can be heard briefly in the new ITV documentary Billion Dollar Bond Street. I've made note of this in the entry at #40 for that song in my list of Pet Shop Boys tracks used in non-musical films and TV shows.

June 9, 2021

Personal Observations

One last update on Annually 2021 (for the time being) – I've now been informed that my replacement copy of Annually 2021 is now on its way to me. I'll note here if and when it arrives (knock on wood), which will probably be at least a quite reasonable two weeks from now. But I'm very pleased with this prompt and satisfying response to my concerns!

June 8, 2021

Personal Observations

Excellent news this morning! – I've heard back from a representative of Universal Music Limited, who told me that he was indeed able to find a copy of Annually 2021 for me and would be sending it to me shortly as a substitute for the ordered copy I didn't receive. Of course, it will take some time to reach me, but at least—assuming there's no delivery mishap this time around—I should get my copy eventually. I'm gratified that "the powers that be," so to speak, have been attentive and responsive to my dilemma.

Lists

Having learned something of what Neil said of "Cricket Wife" in Annually 2021, I've added that song to my "What it's about: Neil's succinct statements on what a song is 'about'" list.

June 7, 2021

Personal Observations

This morning I received from Digital Stores the following update on my "missing" order of Annually 2021, which months ago I had ordered on Day 1 of its availability using the more expensive "expedited" delivery option:

Unfortunately, we have run out of our stock of this product, and we are unable to arrange a replacement for you.

We do understand this is frustrating and can only apologise.

Could you please advise if you prefer a credit voucher towards a new order on our website or a refund?

We apologise for any inconvenience caused and please let us know how you would like to proceed.

I simply don't understand. If, as Digital Stores had previously told me, the courier had returned my copy of Annually 2021 undelivered, then why wouldn't that returned copy still be available to resend to me? (I have submitted this question to Digital Stores, but have yet to hear back from them about it.)

From what I gather from other fans, I'm far from alone in this situation. Other loyal Pet Shop Boys fans have very similarly been frustrated in this same manner, not receiving their ordered copies of Annually 2021.

Needless to say, I'm furious about this. And, again, I'm sure I'm far from alone.

Update: After I received the disappointing message above, I emailed the Pet Shop Boys' management company to complain about the situation. Several hours later a representative replied, saying that he would try to find a replacement copy and have it shipped to me. No guarantees, but he would do his best. I truly appreciate that. So I've got my fingers crossed. Let's see how this all turns out!

June 3, 2021

Personal Observations

Since I've now been told by several of my site visitors who had ordered Annually 2021 (with "Cricket Wife") using the less expensive standard shipping option that they have indeed already received their copies, yet I haven't yet received mine despite paying for the more expensive expedited shipping option, I contacted Digital Stores Customer Service to inquire about it. A representative of Digital Stores wrote back to me this morning to inform me that my order "has been returned" to them by the courier. They asked me to confirm my mailing address (which was correct in the first place; I double-checked to be sure) and said that they would "issue a replacement providing the stock is available." This of course means that, assuming "stock" is available and the courier can this time competently deliver it to me, I almost certainly won't receive it for at least a couple more weeks. Grrrr….

In the meantime, if any of you appear to be in a similar situation and haven't yet received your ordered copy of Annually 2021especially if you also elected the more expensive "expedited" shipping option—you may wish to contact Digital Stores Customer Service yourself to learn more.

June 1, 2021

Corrections and Updates

Thanks to much to Keiron Patrick Standfield (whose name I've just now added to my Thank You page) for pointing me to a new online article in which Johnny Marr reveals for the first time (at least to my knowledge) that Chris Lowe contributed directly to the recording of the Electronic classic "Getting Away with It," for which previously we had been aware of only Neil's involvement. Not only have I made note of this "new fact" in my main entry for that song, but it has necessitated (on account of my obsessiveness about such things) moving that entry from its old residence in my "Tracks in Which Only One of the Boys Was Deeply Involved" section to its new home in my "Miscellaneous Tracks Recorded and Released by the Pet Shop Boys" section. And doing that necessitates changing a whole bunch of internal links here on my website. I've now done this, but I can only hope I've caught them all and haven't caused any problems. If any of you do encounter any resulting broken links, you might first try clearing your cache to make sure you're not loading the old version of that page. If, after doing so, the link still appears to be broken, please don't hesitate to let me know so that I can check into it myself and make any necessary fixes.

Tour News

I've updated my PSB Tours page to list the recently announced show by the Pet Shop Boys one year from tomorrow, on June 2, 2022, scheduled to take place during Denmark's Heartland Festival. And the PSB/New Order Unity Tour of North America has now been rescheduled to 2022, including a change of venue in Washington State and a new show added in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. I've noted these adjustments there as well.

May 31, 2021

Chart Performance

Thanks to tonipsb for letting me know that "Cricket Wife" has debuted at #72 on the official U.K. sales chart and at #70 on the downloads chart, despite not appearing (yet, if ever) on the overall singles chart. I've recorded these facts in a footnote on my Pet Shop Boys' U.K./U.S. charts performance page.

May 29, 2021

Corrections and Updates

Thanks to Tobias Gadau for reporting a longstanding typo, now corrected, on my page that lists covers of Tennant-Lowe songs.

May 28, 2021

Covers of PSB / Chart Performance

Thanks to Michael Fick for informing me that the Elton John/Years & Years remake of "It's a Sin" rose last week to #47 on the U.K. singles chart. I've updated my page devoted to the Pet Shop Boys' U.K./U.S. chart performance accordingly. (As it turns out, it has now dropped down to #100, so it certainly looks as though #47 was its peak position.)

My PSB Dreams

I had one of my occasional dreams about the Pet Shop Boys last night, this time dealing with an imaginary new album. If you're interested, I invite you to read the details on my PSB Dreams page.

May 27, 2021

Lists

Thanks to Jeff Durst for letting me know that the Pet Shop Boys' rendition of "Go West" could be heard in this evening's episode of the U.K. soap EastEnders, only about six weeks after they had previously used it. I've now noted this fact in the entry for that song at #47 in my list of PSB songs used in non-musical films and television shows.

May 26, 2021

Corrections and Updates

I've just noticed that the Pet Shop Boys' own website forthrightly refers to "Cricket Wife" as a "digital single." So I guess it is indeed a single, and I stand corrected on what I wrote here yesterday (see below). I've therefore added it to my PSB singles table. It remains to be seen whether it charts. Fingers crossed!

Personal Observations

Several of you have written to ask whether I've received Annually 2021 yet. No, I haven't, and that appears to be true for quite a few of us. Unlike some previous years, I paid extra this time for the expedited shipping option, so I'm becoming concerned that it still hasn't reached me. But, to be fair to the PSB organization and to Digital Stores, they may not be to blame, at least here in the States. The U.S. Postal Service—which, as I understand it, is being used for these deliveries (if someone knows otherwise for a fact, please correct me)—has become notoriously slow in recent months, and in some cases downright unreliable, apparently on account of policies implemented by the current (and rather controversial) Postmaster General. Whatever the case and wherever we are, let's hope all of us who ordered it do receive it soon. In the meantime, remember: patience is a virtue.

May 25, 2021

Other News

Long-time site visitor Bill Bahlman suggested that this page could be improved, becoming a bit more user-friendly, by the addition of standardized "topical subheads" that will allow readers to grasp, more readily at a glance, the nature of each entry here so that they might be better able to focus on things that interest them and ignore those that don't. This seems like a pretty good idea to me, so I've gone ahead and implemented this new "What's New?" page policy: little red subheads. I've come up with eight of them so far that should cover most updates and additions here, but it's quite possible that others in the future may require the addition of a few more. I hope you'll find this helpful. And, in case you don't find it helpful, I hope at least it doesn't prove a distraction or annoyance. Thanks, Bill!

Personal Observations

I'm starting to see assorted music news sites refer to "Cricket Wife" as the Pet Shop Boys' "new single." Speaking only for myself, I really don't regard it as such. But, then again, the entire question of what does and doesn't constitute a "single" in popular music has become terribly unsettled in recent years. If it were only available, as it originally was, as a bonus with Annually 2021, then I would say definitely, no, it's not a single. But the Boys have now also made it available as a downloadable purchase, which makes it much more "single-like." Looking to the past, I didn't consider "Undertow"—remixes of which were released as a bonus CD with Annually 2017—to be a single until it was later also released as 12-inch vinyl single. So I think what I'll do is wait to see whether "Cricket Wife" actually appears on any singles charts. If it does, then who am I to dispute its single status? [Update: Please note my change of heart on this matter the very next day, May 26; see above.]

May 22, 2021

Covers of PSB

Thanks to Paul Atkin for telling me about the latest cover of a Tennant-Lowe song by the U.K. indie duo Stickipop. This time it's "The Way It Used to Be," but unusually the lead vocals aren't by Vicki Watson Howes but rather by her husband and collaborator, Stuart Howes. I've now noted it on my page devoted to PSB covers. If you would like to hear it for yourself, it's available on YouTube.

May 20, 2021

Lists

Thanks so much to Christopher C (whom I've just added to my Thank You page) for telling me about the brand new song and music video by Norwegian singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche. As you probably recall, the Pet Shop Boys released their rendition of Lerche's song "Dancing in the Dusk" several years ago. Lerche has just informed his fan mailing list that the music video for "King of Letting Go" is an homage to the Boys' own video for "Where the Streets Have No Name (I Can't Take My Eyes Off You)." His statement in so doing hints that the song itself may be PSB-influenced as well. Because of this uncertainty about the song—yet no doubt about its video—I've gone ahead and listed "King of Letting Go" on my page devoted to specific songs by well-known artists that are avowedly influenced by the Pet Shop Boys, though with a note about it admittedly being a "borderline case."

Covers of PSB / Chart Performance

Billboard magazine is currently reporting that the charity remake of "It's a Sin" by Elton John and Years & Years has debuted at #2 on its U.K. Digital Song Sales chart. Speaking of which, I heard a local radio DJ this morning describing this new version of "It's a Sin" as a "fascinating trainwreck"—a "mess" of a recording yet strangely captivating, something that "you can't help but listen to over and over again despite acknowledging its serious flaws" (or some words to that effect). He went on to say that it was "overwrought" and "full of glitter." (This might sound like a homophobic comment, but the DJ who said it is himself openly gay.) But most appealingly, at least to we diehard PSB fans, he added, "Its biggest problem is that it's not by the Pet Shop Boys." (I got the distinct impression he didn't know it was co-produced by them.) Inexplicably, he repeatedly, at least three times, referred to Olly Alexander as "Olly Wilson." Somebody needs to do their homework. Still, it's nice to hear it talked about—and then played—on U.S. radio.

May 19, 2021

Tour News

The Pet Shop Boys' official website has announced that the Bilbao Live festival in Spain at which they were scheduled to perform this coming July has been postponed until 2022. Performers will be announced at a later date. This means, if I'm not mistaken, that it's uncertain whether they will be still be in the lineup; I suppose that all depends on the date and other factors. I've therefore retained it on my PSB Tours page, although I've moved it to the July 2022 position—with a question mark for the time being.

Interpretations and Annotations

Thanks to Dave F for observing that the "Cricket Wife" CD is colored a deep shade of red, apparently the exact same color as a regulation cricket ball. I've noted this fact in an expansion on the final bullet-point annotation to my commentary on that song.