PSB Album "Replacements"

It's not at all unusual—in fact, it's fairly commonplace—to hear Pet Shop Boys fans say how a particular song on a particular album should have been left off and replaced with a certain single b-side, which they consider a much better song, from that same period of their career. I've certainly thought that and—admit it—you've probably done it, too. Of course, the Boys themselves are the final and, by all rights, the "best" arbiters of which songs should and shouldn't go on their albums. Then again, there have been occasions when Neil and/or Chris themselves have expressed misgivings in hindsight, suggesting that the inclusion of a certain song on an album or the exclusion of another one had been a mistake. So I take that as permission, so to speak, to play a rather presumptuous little game.

Through the years I've run polls in which I've asked my website visitors to rate the Pet Shop Boys' songs, usually on an album-by-album or "period" basis. Using the average ratings from those polls, I'm going to consider "replacing" the lowest-rated song on each PSB studio album with the highest-rated b-side associated with that album. Then I'll offer my personal assessment as to whether it's an improvement. That is, would it have been a better album if that substitution had actually occurred? Yes, it's just my opinion, so take it for what it's worth—which, when you get right down to it, isn't very much. But I'm doing it anyway.

Incidentally, these "replacements" do not necessarily mean that the "new" song in question would appear in the same position on the album as the song it's replacing. The track order might have turned out different.

The average rating for each song under consideration appears in parentheses. In chronological order, here we go:

So there we have it. Out of 14 studio albums thus far, 7 of them get "replacements" and 7 don't. I couldn't have planned it better myself.