Your Early Stuff

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - 2012
Original album - Elysium
Producer - Andrew Dawson, Pet Shop Boys
Subsequent albums - (none)
Other releases - (none)

In an interview with Music Week, Neil described this as "a funny song… a compilation of things that taxi drivers have said to me in recent years." The chorus goes:

You've been around and you don't look too rough
I still quite like some of your early stuff

Other lines describe how the speakers suspect the Boys are "more or less retired now" and speculate that they're still making music only because they "need the money." Neil provided further details in an interview with Will Hodgkinson of The Times Saturday Review: "'My mum really likes you' is one we get a lot. Worse than that is 'I used to really like you' and that is meant to be a compliment. Some lad came up to us the other day and said 'My dad used to really like you.' Well, thank you for that."

One of the most interesting aspects of this phenomenon is the difference in perception between speaker and listener. I'm sure that the people who offer such comments consider them compliments and polite expressions of interest. Naturally, the Boys would see things differently. The fact that they "quite like some of [their] early stuff" implicitly indicates that they don't much care for their more recent work. For that matter, they liked only "some" of the early material.

Though it's quite different musically, this rather short song is lyrically somewhat in the mold of "Yesterday, When I Was Mad," which consisted largely of dubious, backhanded compliments that various people had actually offered the Boys. Yet the "funny" aspect of "Your Early Stuff" is undercut by the rather downbeat sound of the music, which lends an air of melancholy, maybe even some bitterness. Still, it shows that the Boys aren't afraid to poke some fun at themselves, exposing as it does some of the less than wholly complimentary ways in which they're widely perceived beyond the confines of dedicated PSB fandom.

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