NonethelessNonetheless

Released - 2024
Chart peak - not yet charted at this time

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These star-ratings reflect how PSB albums compare to each other—not how they compare to albums by other artists. Remember that an "average" (three-star) PSB album is, at least as far as I'm concerned, an excellent album by pop/rock standards in general.

Scheduled for release in late April 2024, Nonetheless finds the Pet Shop Boys returning to the Parlophone label, which had been their "recording home" from 1985 to 2012. (It appears that their x2 label is still active, however, in that their new recordings appear still to be "owned" by x2 and only "licensed" to Parlophone.) It was produced (or co-produced) by British producer/musician James Ford, who before his work with the Pet Shop Boys had helmed albums by dozens of other artists, including Depeche Mode, Kylie Minogue, Blur, Mumford & Sons, Gorillaz, Arctic Monkeys, The Last Shadow Puppets, Florence and the Machine, Little Boots, and Haim. The first single from the album is also its first track, "Loneliness," yet apparently was the last of its songs to be written.

Most if not all of the songs were composed by the Boys during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, from mid-2020 through early 2021, when, like countless others, Chris and Neil were in quarantine "lockdown" mode and therefore collaborated remotely over the internet. Nonetheless has been described by Neil as a very "melodic" album in which most of the songs have orchestral accompaniment. He has even gone so far as to suggest that this album somewhat exemplifies "the sound of the Pet Shop Boys: electronics with strings." (Strings on the album were provided by the Elysium Collective, an outgrowth of the famed Elysium Quartet, which often specializes in more modern, avant-garde music.)

While some tracks are as "danceable" as one would expect from a PSB album, most are of a more "reflective" mood—quite understandably given the unusual circumstances under which they were written. Even the album title itself was inspired by the pandemic. As the Boys told interviewer Laura Snapes for The Guardian, "Nonetheless," they've "carried on and done this"—that is, they wrote these songs and recorded this album in spite of the disease, its lockdown, and its associated disruptions. Nonetheless, the Pet Shop Boys go on.

In addition to its standard single-disc edition, Nonetheless will also be available in a special two-CD/vinyl deluxe edition with a bonus four-track EP titled Furthermore. This bonus disc will offer brand-new re-recordings of four PSB classics: "Heart," "Being Boring," "Always on My Mind," and "It's a Sin."

I will make appropriate updates when more information becomes available.

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