Archive for the 'Pet Shop Boys' Category

09
Sep
12

You’re a winner, I’m a winner

New music from Pet Shop Boys is always cause for celebration, for me anyway. A new album has just touched down and no doubt I will write about that later. Today, I just wanted to highlight the rather special video for the album’s first single “Winner”.

“Winner” came out a month ago and with all the fuss surrounding the Olympic Games in London, it was assumed that the song was written to cash in on the games due to the title, single cover art and the anthemic quality of the song.

It turns out that the song was not written with the Olympics in mind. It was actually inspired by Take That during the double header concert tour featuring both Tale That and Pet Shop Boys. Neil and Chris wanted to see if they could write a mid-tempo anthemic ballad and the result was “Winner”. It was never intended that Pet Shop Boys would record and release it themselves. Neil has even admitted that he was thinking of the song as a possible entry for the Eurovision Song Contest. Listen for that key change during the song.

Andrew Dawson, the producer of the new Pet Shop Boys album “Elysium”, was the one who convinced Neil and Chris to record the song themselves. So they did.

Another track was always intended to be the first single but late in the day, the record company decided to release “Winner” instead, obviously thinking that it could be an Olympic tie-in.

I do like “Winner” a lot but having heard the rest of the album, I don’t think it was the strongest choice for a single and as it was, it didn’t sell particularly well. Maybe the record company always knew that anything released would be over-shadowed by all the Olympics hype so decided to release the stronger single later. Who knows.

Anyway, a video was recorded for “Winner” with a storyline closer to the meaning of the lyrics instead of some tacky, predictable Olympics montage. The lyrics are about tolerance and acceptance of those who are different, values that I respond to. And that’s what the video is about.

The story concerns a transgender woman, “Dirty Diana”,  joining a woman’s roller derby team. She is not particularly good at roller derby but that doesn’t matter. There are lots of scenes showing Diana being accepted. They obviously know what Diana is but don’t care. They accept her as one of their own and it is heartwarming to see how happy Diana is, finally being accepted and treated as one of the girls. I also like the fact that the video is shot as if it was an amateur documentary. It adds to the authenticity of the video.

I guess the video wasn’t going to help the single to sell more copies but that’s irrelevant. I love it anyway.

 

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11
Dec
11

Pet Shop Boys + Ballet = ?

When Pet Shop Boys first announced they wanted to write the music for a ballet, I was a little bemused. I guess I didn’t know what to make of it. As much as I love music, ballet is something that has never appealed to me at all. Kulcha and me just don’t mix.

The ballet is based on a Hans Christian Andersen story, “The Most Incredible Thing”, one I hadn’t heard of and still I was bemused. No disrespect to HCA but I had grown out of those sorts of stories many years ago.

I obviously bought the CD when it came out earlier this year. I knew if nothing else, being the Pet Shop Boys, the music would be magnificent. In that regard, I wasn’t disappointed. Different to the usual kind of ballet music I’m aware of and different to a Pet Shop Boys album, yet at the same time quite similar. Sort of a bastard child of the two styles full of dramatic musical hooks and sound effects. Very strident at times which I love. There is only one kind of pop moment which utilises a demo of a song called “Baby” that Neil and Chris had given to Swedish group Alcazar. Always great to hear Neil’s voice no matter how briefly.

So I would definitely recommend the album but how I would I go actually seeing the ballet. Could I cope? I am going to be in London in March next year and the ballet is having a short return season. I took the plunge and booked a ticket. I like to experience new things and a ballet couldn’t be that bad, could it? I reasoned if I really wasn’t enjoying it, I could leave during the intermission. I’ll find out in a few months.

I did find some clips on Youtube that had been put up by someone involved in the production which actually look OK and entertaining enough.

The first is the talent show which has a speaking part, a disco beat and looks a lot of fun.

The next clip is the “pop” moment with Neil singing “Baby”.

The next two clips really show off the audio visual aspect of the show.

I’m starting to think that the show might be an enjoyable experience.

To finish off this entry, here is Alcazar’s version of “Baby” in full. Not quite Neil but you can get a feel for the song. It’s from Alcazar’s “Disco Defenders” album which is worth checking out if you like dance pop.

21
Jun
11

Day Five – Pet Shop Boys – Actually

There had to be one from my favourite group and I can’t believe that it has been so long since I played the Pet Shop Boys’ second album “Actually”. Along with their debut “Please”, these albums were a major part of my personal soundtrack during my coming out years.

“Actually” had some stunning singles which most people would be familiar with – “It’s A Sin”, “What Have I Done To Deserve This”, “Heart” and “Rent”. But this album had much more than a string of hit singles. Check out classics like “Shopping”, “One More Chance”, “Hit Music” and “Kings Cross”.

One thing I will always be grateful for was my introduction to the greatest singer of all time, Dusty Springfield. Her duet with the Boys was a real eye and ear opener.

Here are the Pet Shop Boys and Dusty Springfield performing “What Have I Done To Deserve This” at the 1988 Brit Awards. I wish they could have performed it live but that wasn’t the done thing on TV back then. Still it’s fun to see Dusty having a ball on stage.

“Rent” was surely an homage to rent boys. This is a 2006 live concert clip of the song.

And here is “Kings Cross” as performed in 1994.

Finally, here is a good live vserion of “Shopping”.

06
Mar
10

My Inspiration

I love these two posters of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe (aka Pet Shop Boys) and they would look fabulous on my wall. They were produced as part of a campaign for HMV UK a couple of years ago and are part of a bigger series. They are currently being offered through HMV’s reward scheme but the catch is that you have to be a UK resident. Grrr. And I couldn’t find them on eBay either. Double grrr. A hex on HMV.

Not only are the photos themselves stunning but they each reference a song and an artist that has inspired them. Coincidentally, the artists referenced are big inspirations to me too which makes the posters even more special. Needless to say, Neil and Chris are also personal inspirations.

Dusty Springfield is the best bar none. The song chosen is a favourite of Dusty fans, the soulful and moody “Goin’ Back”. This clip features candid footage, some of it filmed in Australia back in the 60s. I got a bit teary while watching.

Billie Ray Martin is a German soul dance diva who had a worldwide dance hit some years back with “Your Loving Arms”. Here is the promo clip for this infectious dance number.

11
Jan
10

I’m Not Scared – Eighth Wonder

Eighth Wonder was a somewhat short-lived but no less fabulous group from the late 80s, fronted by Patsy Kensit. Their biggest hit was the wonderfully seductive “I’m Not Scared”, written and produced for them by the Pet Shop Boys.

The Pet Shop Boys went on to record and release their own version but I must say that I prefer the Eighth Wonder version. Something about Patsy’s vocals, maybe. Swedish group, West End Girls also included a version on their debut album.

Browsing YouTube today, I found a video clip for “I’m Not Scared” which I hadn’t actually seen before so here it is.

Some good news is that Eighth Wonder’s album “Fearless” has been remastered and is being released in a couple of weeks. There are bonus tracks including an extended version of “I’m Not Scared” as well as the elusive French language version. Can’t wait for that one. I already have my pre-order in with Amazon UK. 🙂

05
Dec
09

It Doesn’t Often Snow At Christmas

One of my favourite Christmas songs was originally released in 1997. “It Doesn’t Often Snow At Christmas” by the Pet Shop Boys was a very limited released to fan club members only. Since then it has only popped up on an obscure compilation released through a US coffeee shop chain (go figure).

Now, there is a new version and it’s being released digitally world-wide on or around 14 December as part of a special EP called simply “Christmas”. In the UK, there will be a physical CD release too (just pre-ordered my copy).

Tracklisting:

  1. “It Doesn’t Often Snow At Christmas” (new version produced by Marius de Vries)
  2. “My Girl”
  3. “All Over The World (new version produced by Marius de Vries)
  4. “Viva la Vida”/”Domino Dancing”
  5. “My Girl” (Pet Shop Boys House Mix)

“My Girl” is a cover of the Madness song and “Viva la Vida” is the Coldplay song. The medley of “Viva la Vida”/”Domino Dancing” has been one of the highlights of their current tour so this studio version is very welcome.

07
Feb
09

New single from the Pet Shop Boys

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Well, it has been leaked in a big way all over the internet which always makes the cynic in me wonder if it is a record company ploy but what the hey, it’s a new song from the Pet Shop Boys so I’m more than happy.

It’s a very catchy song with a slight swing beat and some background chanting. It may take a couple of listens but you will be hooked in. It kinda puts me in mind of Two Hearts by Kylie Minogue.

The complete song went up on YouTube but not surprisingly was removed. And it has popped up again. I can’t guarantee this will still be there but give it a try.

If not lucky then you can listen to a one minute clip at Euphoric, one of my favourite Pet Shop Boys fan sites. Click here.

The single comes out in the UK on 16 March and will contain two brand new songs that won’t be on the album as well as some remixes. Well worth getting.




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