PopArtPopArt

Released - 2003
Chart peak - UK #18, US (didn't chart)

For their second hits collection, the Pet Shop Boys opted not only to span their entire career (as opposed to picking up where Discography had left off) but also to try a very different organizational approach. Whereas Discography had simply been a chronological anthology of singles, PopArt divvies up their hits across two discs—"Pop" and "Art," presumably because they regard each song as more appropriate to one category than the other—and presents them in non-chronological order. Now, some more jaded fans might consider this an obvious attempt to camouflage the fact that their later singles have, by and large, been less successful than the earlier ones, particularly in the large U.S. market. Then again, if it were presented chronologically, then the first disc would be nearly identical to Discography: boring! And the Boys are never being boring! Either way, it's fascinating to see how they categorize each song: as "pop" or as "art." Let the debates begin.

As with Discography's inclusion of "Where the Streets Have No Name (I Can't Take My Eyes Off You)," PopArt includes singles that hadn't previously appeared on a PSB album other than reissues or special editions ("Paninaro '95" and "Somewhere"). And also like Discography, it contains two brand-new singles: "Miracles" and "Flamboyant." But unlike Discography, it leaves off "Was It Worth It?," which has caused consternation among some fans. Apparently this omission can be explained by the fact that "Was It Worth It?" failed to crack the Top 20 in the U.K. Then again, maybe it helps justify the continuation in print of Discography. Another anomaly is the fact that it contains the Actually album version of "Heart" rather than the #1 single mix—clearly a mistake for which somebody's head may roll. At any rate, it will be interesting to see whether PopArt sells well and garners new fans for the Boys, much as Discography had done more than a decade before. A "limited edition" with a third disc of what has been described as "Neil and Chris's choice of their favorite PSB remixes" is also available. (This third disc is called "Mix," resulting in a collection titled PopArtMix.) And the "French edition" has its own unique track: "Paris City Boy."

Nearly three years after its release in the United Kingdom (and many other countries), PopArt was finally released in the United States in early October 2006 on Capitol Records. The U.S. edition has the same song lineup as the U.K. version, but three of those songs appear in different versions: an abbreviated edit of the single mix of "I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind of Thing" (4:28 as opposed to the U.K. edition's 4:45); the single mix of "Heart" (as opposed to the Actually album mix on the U.K. edition); and the single mix of "Flamboyant" (as opposed to U.K. edition's original version). But almost certainly because of its greatly delayed release, PopArt failed to hit the U.S. album chart. After all, virtually all U.S. fans had already bought their copy as an import.

Note: Aside from "Miracles," "Paris City Boy," "Flamboyant," "Paninaro '95," and "Somewhere," the following links will take you to the sections for the albums on which each song originally appeared. Please keep this in mind for "navigational" purposes.