Released - 1995
Chart peak - UK #2, US #103

Visitors' rating (plurality): ★★★★☆
Visitors' rating (rounded average): ★★★★☆
Wayne's rating: ★★★★☆

These star-ratings reflect how PSB albums compare to each other—not how they compare to albums by other artists.

The Pet Shop Boys released their double-CD collection of b-sides, Alternative, in 1995. Neil says that he had originally hoped they would put out a single disc with just the "best" b-sides, but he and Chris failed to narrow the list down to just those that would fit on one CD. Besides, the fans would have been disappointed with just one disc, so they opted for two. Virtually all of their single b-sides released up to that point are therefore included, appearing in chronological order.

The title is something of a pun on the fact that a b-side of a single is by definition an "alternative" to the a-side, while at the same time playing upon the term "alternative" that was being used generically to refer to the style of pop music dominant at that time among British and American teenagers and young adults. (Author, critic, and literary theorist Ian Balfour has also suggested that it could also be viewed as a sly allusion to the term "alternative lifestyle.") A couple other titles were apparently under serious consideration beforehand, however, most notably Besides—another blatant pun that the Boys may have abandoned upon learning that the U.S. alternative band Sugar would be releasing their own b-sides album with that title two months before the PSB collection could be released—and Flippantly (punning on "flip side"), which a brief report in Billboard magazine cited as the pending album's title only three months before Alternative actually appeared.

The album was released in two editions, one of which features a lenticular photo that "alternates" (oh, how they love punning on multiple levels!) between Neil and Chris in fencing masks.

Top Picks by Voter Ratings

  1. Shameless
  2. Miserablism
  3. Your Funny Uncle

Wayne's Top Picks

  1. Shameless
  2. Bet She's Not Your Girlfriend
  3. Your Funny Uncle

Note: The links below for "I Want a Dog" and "Violence" will take you to the sections for the albums Introspective and Please, respectively. Please keep this in mind for "navigational" purposes.