What's New? – Recent Updates & Additions

September 19, 2017

For the second time in less than a week I've discovered a new remake of "Domino Dancing" by a Brazilian artist: this time singer/DJ/producer Cahe Nardy. Naturally, I've now noted it on my page that lists cover versions of Pet Shop Boys songs. And if you would like to hear it for yourself, it's available on YouTube.

September 18, 2017

What a difference a question makes! After only two days, my survey this week has already had considerably more voters than all of last week's poll.

Regular site visitor/contributor Steve N. wrote to ask whether I knew why the lyrics of "In Bits" haven't yet appeared in the lyrics section of the Pet Shop Boys' official website, despite that song having been released more than a year-and-a-half ago. As I replied to Steve, I'm afraid I have no idea. I suspect it's merely an oversight that will eventually be corrected.

September 17, 2017

I've posted the final results of my "Ratings Project" survey of the past week, in which I asked my site visitors rate several recently released, previously unrated Pet Shop Boys on a scale of 0 to 10 as they compare to all other PSB tracks. And you might also like to check out how these songs have fared within my overall "Ratings Project" results. (As a sidenote, I should note that I'm a bit surprised at how relatively few voters there were this time around, and among them there were quite a few abstentions. Perhaps a good many fans have resisted buying the recent reissues, from which the songs in this survey were drawn.)

My new poll for the week ahead turns our attention to the Pet Shop Boys' music videos—or, to be more precise, to those directors who have helmed more than one of the videos for their singles. From this short list of just seven men I'd like for you to choose your personal favorite based on the PSB videos they directed. To put it another way, who, in your opinion, has done the best job of directing multiple music videos for the Boys' singles?

September 16, 2017

My webhosting service suffered an outage that resulted in my website being unavailable for an hour or two last night or early this morning (depending on your time zone). Although it was beyond my control, I nevertheless apologize for any inconvenience.

Thanks to Robin J. for catching the fact that I erred a few days ago in placing "Playing in the Streets," even tentatively, in my list of songs in which Chris sings lead. Robin pointed out that Neil has stated in the booklet accompanying the Nightlife reissue that he himself is speaking that line. I had missed that! I've now removed "Playing in the Streets" from the list, and I've made note of this fact in my main entry for that track. Thanks again, Robin!

I've always been quite partial to the highly imaginative remixes that Trouser Enthusiasts made for several Pet Shop Boys songs—"A Red Letter Day," "Discoteca," and  "Somewhere"—back in the 1990s. (The first of those is among my 10 all-time favorite PSB remixes, and if were to expand that list to 20, the other two would easily make it as well.) So I'm delighted that José Cruz (aka JCRZ) has created a six-minute-plus avowedly Trouser Enthusiasts-influenced progressive dance track out of the 18-second PSB ringtone "Where Are You?" If you'd like to hear it, it's available on YouTube.

Filed under "If you're inclined to find it of interest" – The latest issue (October 2017) of the U.S. gay magazine Out has listed what its editors regard as "25 Essential Queer Anthems." Making the list is the Pet Shop Boys' "New York City Boy." I don't think that would have been my own PSB choice; I'd actually be hard-pressed—so many to choose from—but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have been that. But I'm pleased as punch they made the list at all. Blur's "Girls & Boys," which PSB famously remixed and have performed in concert, also made the cut. Among the other songs chosen by the Out editors: Cher's "Believe" (sheer pre-Xenomania fabulousness), RuPaul's "Supermodel (You Better Work!)" (inevitable, right?), Madonna's "Hung Up" (Madonna + ABBA + Stuart Price = you think?), Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" (duh!), and k.d. lang's "Constant Craving" (whatever else you may think of it, it's her biggest hit and best-known song so, yeah).

Today's the last full day of my current poll, so if you haven't yet rated those songs but wish to do so, it's now or never!

September 15, 2017

Having received his permission to do so, I've added Michael Weber's name to my Thank You page in recognition of his assistance yesterday (see just below). Thanks again, Michael!

September 14, 2017

Thanks to Michael Weber both for offering a correction and for "filling in the blanks" regarding the additional lines in the demo version of "Vocal," which I added yesterday (see below) to my list of Pet Shop Boys songs with extra lyrics.

I'm also very pleased to notice that my home page's Flag Counter routine has recorded my first-ever site visitor from the southern African nation of Botswana. I've updated my "A World of Pet Shop Boys Fans" page accordingly. And I extend a very hearty welcome to my Botswanan visitor!

September 13, 2017

Thanks so much to Paul Atkin for letting me know about a delightful new remake of "I'm Not Scared" by a mysterious artist who calls herself/themselves (not sure which) Indaqo. I don't how to describe the style (nor does Paul) except maybe as light, trance-y pop. If you would like to hear it for yourself, it's available for your listening pleasure on YouTube. And, of course, I've noted it on my page that lists cover versions of Pet Shop Boys songs.

I've also listed there a new cover of "Domino Dancing" by a Brazilian duo calling themselves 2RickS. If you would like to hear that, it too can be heard on YouTube.

By virtue of its demo version (soon to be released with the reissue of Elysium but already previewed online), I've now placed "Vocal" at #26 in my alphabetical list of PSB songs with "extra lyrics."

September 10, 2017

I've posted the final results of my poll of the past fortnight, in which I asked my site visitors to choose the most "seasonal" Pet Shop Boys albums—that is, the most summery, the most autumnal, the most wintry, an the most vernal (spring-like).

My new survey for the week ahead—yes, I'm now returning to my traditional weekly schedule—is, at long last, my latest "Rating Project" poll, in which I ask you to rate a set of Pet Shop Boys songs on a scale of 0 to 10 according to how you feel they each compare with all other PSB songs (not songs by other artists). Naturally, this time around I'd like for you to rate the previously "unrated" songs that were released on the Further Listening discs accompanying the recent reissues of Nightlife, Release, and Fundamental. (Please note that some of the songs on those discs, such as "Tall Thin Men" and "The Performance of My Life," had been previously rated and thus are not included among the choices.)

Thanks to Andrew Shaw for correcting a misstatement I had made in today's "On This Day in Pet Shop Boys History" page with regard to the name by which the Hammersmith Odeon is best known. And speaking of that page, I notice that it was exactly eleven years ago this evening that the Boys were performing in Tampa, Florida—which, even as I type this, is now dealing with the onslaught of Hurricane Irma. It's nowhere nearly as powerful as it was just 48 hours ago, yet even a Category 1 or 2 hurricane can be very dangerous and devastating. I extend my sincere well-wishes to everyone in the path of the storm.

Last night I had another in my series of "PSB dreams." Although the Boys themselves did not appear in it, they were very important to its "plot," particularly toward the end. If you're at all interested in such evidence of the workings of my subconsious mind, I invite you to read about it.

September 9, 2017

I've received a number of emails over the past 24 hours or so that I've been just too busy to address right away, and now that I have a little more time, I'll be doing so in stages. First off, thanks to Neil of Delaware (formerly Neil of St. Louis) for pointing out that I should add Oklahoma to my list of real places mentioned by name in Pet Shop Boys songs by virtue of the famous Rodgers and Hammerstein musical of that name being referenced in "Tall Thin Men." I've not only appropriately updated Neil's citation on my Thank You page but I've also added there Robin J. both for contributing some useful information quite a few years ago (at which time he declined inclusion) and for suggesting a new poll question, which I'll plan on using in the not-too-distant future.

Thanks also to Nick Birch for nudging me finally to include the apparently "official" but officially unreleased "Godfather Remix" of "Twenty-something" among the mixes for that song. I was already well aware of this popular remix, but for some reason—which I honestly can't recall right now—I resisted mentioning it until now. Maybe I simply wasn't confident of its authenticity. Whatever the case, I've listed it now. I extend my thanks as well to those (at least two or three of you) who had mentioned it to me previously.

I'll probably be making at least one or two other updates later today once I've completed a few essential Saturday errands. Busy, busy—there's no rest for the wicked, you know. wink

September 6, 2017

I've just been informed by Amazon that delivery of my advance orders of the Yes and Elysium reissues has been pushed out one week, from October 20 to October 27, because "the release date for the items has changed." I received my previous Amazon orders of the reissues of Nightlife, Release, and Fundamental the evening before their official release date, so I have a lot of respect for Amazon's integrity about this sort of thing. I just wonder whether this is a "global" change or if it affects only the U.S. (and perhaps certain other countries). Has anyone else—especially outside the U.S.—received a similar notice?

September 4, 2017

One of my regular site visitors and contributors, Steve N, has reported something rather peculiar about the "new" Pet Shop Boys song "Reunion"—or at least as how it sounds in a recent posting on YouTube. I'll allow him to explain it:

"When listening to this song in stereo, the music starts in just the right speaker, then it transfers to just the left speaker, and then it plays in both speakers. The music starts on separate speakers and then rejoins or reunites on both speakers. As a result, the music has a 'reunion' just like the characters in the lyrics. This seems to be a bit of fun the Boys are having with the production, to match the title of the song!"

I've verified that, yes, that is indeed what's happening in this song—in that YouTube post. But here's the rub: when I listen to "Reunion" from the CD on my home stereo system, I do not hear this channel-shifting effect. Nor do I hear it in the mp3 file I was able to download from Amazon as a free fringe-benefit of buying the Release album reissue from them. So here's our question – Does anyone have any other copies of this song in which this same stereo channel-shifting can be heard? Does it occur in, say, advance copies of the song that were obtained before the official release? Or is it perhaps just some technical glitch or even an intentional digital manipulation executed by the person who posted it on YouTube? If you can shed any further light on this, please do.

Update: Thanks so much to another of my regular site visitors and contributors, Dave F, for noticing that the blurb beneath the aforementioned recording of "Reunion" on YouTube states that it's a fan-made remix. So it is an instance of "intentional manipulation" after all. Mystery soloved—that would seem to explain everything!

(By the way, I should have noticed that myself. I must be slipping.)

Meanwhile, one of the newspaper reviews of the Pet Shop Boys' recent shows in Gateshead referred to their music as "intellectronica." Nice word. I wondered whether the writer had coined it, but a Google search reveals that it's been around for a while, though this may be the first time it's been applied to the Boys. Whatever the case, it strikes me as quite possibly the single most apt one-word description of PSB's work. Yes, I'm going to have to remember that.

On an altogether different note, I'm dismayed to learn of the unexpected death yesterday (of as yet undisclosed causes) of Steely Dan co-founder Walter Becker, one-half (along with Donal Fagen) of one of the finest, most intelligent songwriting teams in rock/pop music history. As I state on my page where I list Steely Dan among my own personal favorites, they were, in my opinion, the greatest rock band of the 1970s. As I also note there, Neil Tennant compared the Pet Shop Boys to Steely Dan on at least two separate occasions. Once, way back in 1988, Neil said that, like Steely Dan, he and Chris were songwriters who seldom toured as performing musicians. (As it turns out, that was before both duos began performing live much more often in the 1990s.) Nearly a quarter-century later, in 2012, while the Boys were promoting their album Elysium, Neil told an interviewer, "Part of us is Eurodisco, but part of us is Steely Dan. And you can hear both of those things in this album." OK, for those of you who aren't very fond of Elysium, that may not sound like much of a ringing endorsement, so to speak. But I think I know exactly what Neil meant by that comment—which I personally view as quite positive—and I agree completely.

September 3, 2017

Thanks to Paul Mann for calling into question a comment I had made on my PopArt page about its inclusion of the album rather than the single version of "Heart" being "clearly" a mistake. He raises a valid point. So, in the absence of any absolute confirmation of the matter by the Pet Shop Boys organization—at least none that I've been able to locate at this time—I've adjusted my language to reflect my opinion ("very likely") that it's a mistake. Way to keep me on my toes! wink

By the way, as my current poll enters its second and final week, I want to give you all a little heads-up. Unless something more pressing should arise in the "PSB universe," I plan on my next poll, starting one week from today—at which point I plan on resuming my traditional weekly poll schedule—being a "Rating Project" survey in which I'll be asking you to rate the previously "unheard" songs released with the recent album reissues. So you may want to be listening to those tracks again with a view toward determining your 0-10 rating as they compare to all other PSB songs.

September 2, 2017

For the second time in four days I extend my thanks to Rob Bainbridge for letting me know about the use of a Pet Shop Boys song on the U.K. TV show Homes Under the Hammer. This time it was the rarely heard track (at least on television) "A Different Point of View." I've noted this instance from August 2016 by updating the entry for that song at #15 in the appropriate list.

I may be opening a terrible can of worms, but here goes – After long pondering it, I've decided to compile and post a new list of what I've found to be the current 10 most collectible Pet Shop Boys releases based on value. I cite there a number of "rules," caveats, and limitations, and, as I also state there, I reserve the right to remove this list at any time should it ever prove seriously problematic in any way. But I do plan on reviewing and updating it on a regular basis—at least every few months. At any rate, I hope you find it interesting, if not actually useful, and perhaps even a little amusing. I did.

September 1, 2017

My addition of "One More Chance" to one list yesterday (see just below) got me to thinking about a different list, which led me to run a quick comparison of the original Bobby O production with the later Actually version of the song. And, as it turns out, "One More Chance" earns, by virtue of a single line, a spot at #14 in my alphabetical list of Pet Shop Boys songs that contain "extra lyrics."

Thanks to Mark Binmore for informing me that the U.K. TV show Homes Under the Hammer has once again—or, in this case, twice again—used PSB music. Both "Go West" and the instrumental version of "All Over the World" could be heard in today's new episode. I've accordingly updated my list of appearances of Pet Shop Boys music in non-musical films and TV shows, needing to add a new entry at #84 for the latter song.

August 31, 2017

It occurred to me earlier today that I had neglected to include the early Bobby 'O'-produced single of "One More Chance" in my new list of how Pet Shop Boys singles differ (if at all) from the album versions. I've now rectified that oversight.

Meanwhile, terrific news from the official PSB website: the next round of album reissues, for Yes and Elysium, will be released on October 20. The bonus "Further Listening" tracklists are as follows:

CD2

  1. Gin and Jag
  2. This Used to Be the Future (with Phil Oakey)
  3. We’re All Criminals Now
  4. Gin and Jag (Frisky mix)
  5. Beautiful People (demo)
  6. My Girl
  7. The Loving Kind (monitor mix)
  8. Love etc. (PSB mix)
  9. Did You See Me Coming? (PSB Possibly more mix)
  10. The Former Enfant Terrible (PSB Bring it on mix)
  11. Up and Down
  12. Brits Medley

CD3

  1. I Cried for Us
  2. It Doesn’t Often Snow at Christmas (new version)
  3. All Over the World (new version)
  4. Viva la Vida/Domino Dancing (Christmas EP mix)
  5. My Girl (Our House mix)
  6. Leaving (demo)
  7. Together
  8. Glad All Over
  9. The Dumpling Song (demo from My Dad’s A Birdman)
  10. Wings and Faith (demo from My Dad’s a Birdman)
  11. Night Song (Fan Club download 2010)

CD2

  1. Vocal (demo)
  2. She Pops (demo)
  3. Inside
  4. In Slow Motion (demo)
  5. Listening
  6. Hell
  7. The Way Through the Woods (long version)
  8. I Started a Joke
  9. In His Imagination
  10. Leaving (Believe in PSB mix)
  11. Leaving (Side by side remix)
  12. Leaving (Freedom remix)
  13. Memory of the Future (New single mix)

Interestingly, the only completely new, previously "unheard" songs this time around are "She Pops" and "In Slow Motion," although several others—such as the ones from My Dad's a Birdman—are rather rare and obscure. I've already created very preliminary pages for those two songs (as evidenced by the hyperlinks in the first sentence of this paragraph), and I plan on making other scattered minor updates derived from today's news over the next day or two. In the meantime, I've already placed my advance order—have you?

August 30, 2017

Thanks so much to Dan Newton for suggesting that I specifically point out that the single version of "Twenty-something" cuts the entire first verse from the album version, which I've now noted in my new list of how Pet Shop Boys singles differ from their album version (if at all).

Thanks also to Rob Bainbridge for letting me know that "In the Night" was used in a 1995 episode of the U.K. comedy show Fist of Fun, the pertinent excerpt of which was replayed in a program broadcast on U.K. television just this past Sunday evening. I've accordingly modified the pre-existing second bullet-point of the entry for that song at #2 in my list of PSB tracks used in non-musical films and TV shows.

In response to comments made by Neil in their recent promotional video for the Fundamental reissue, I've made a few minor updates to my entries for the songs "Psychological" and "Girls Don't Cry." And while we're on the subject of those promo videos, here, for your convenience, are direct links to all three of them on YouTube:

One other thing – The local weather forecasts where I live are predicting record-high temperatures this coming Friday and Saturday, possibly extending to Sunday. I know from past experience that such a heat wave can trigger temporary power outages (too many people running too much AC) and/or temporary internet downtime (as servers get overheated, especially if the buildings in which they're housed lose their own air conditioning). So if I appear to "go silent" for a while this weekend, that may be why. If that should occur, I promise to be back in action as soon as I'm able.

August 29, 2017

Thanks to Andy P for letting me know that "Suburbia" played over the end-credits of the recent first episode of the five-part BBC series Britain's Home Truths. I've made note of this in the entry for that track at #17 in my list of Pet Shop Boys songs used in non-musical TV shows and movies.

By the way, I know full well that I have some regular site visitors living in southeastern Texas, which has been ravaged by Hurricane Harvey, and continues to be hammered by its remnants. A lot of people don't realize that Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and it's currently pretty much under water. Even under ordinary circumstances it's a fairly rainy place, yet they've received more rain in the past four days than they normally get in an entire year! And it's not over yet! The flooding is already devastating, but authorities are warning that the worst may be still to come as badly swollen rivers move their contents downstream. That's precisely what caused the greatest amount of damage back when the remnants of Hurricane Camille—who, as they said for years thereafter, "was no lady"—struck my home state of Virginia when I was in my early teens. At any rate, my employer has a donation-match program, and I plan on taking advantage of it to donate to the American Red Cross, earmarked for Hurricane Harvey relief. If you're also inclined to contribute, please check with your own employer to see if they, too, have such a match program. Many do. It's a great way to double the impact of your charitable donations!

August 28, 2017

After listening again to the recently released (but previously unreleased) songs, I've expanded my commentary a bit on one of them, "Ring Road," to note the reference to "parking." I've also added a new bullet-point annotation to my entry for "Go West" on the subject of that song being described by Neil as the Pet Shop Boys' "albatross" in one of their recent promo "discussion videos" for the recent reissues.

August 27, 2017

I've posted the final results of my survey of the past two weeks, in which I asked my site visitors to indicate whether they believe the final single taken from Pet Shop Boys studio album was a good choice for that role, or whether they had a different opinion about it.

For my new poll for the next two weeks—which I expect to be my final regular biweekly poll before I resume a weekly schedule—I've decided to go with a somewhat frivolous question that may require you to use a more fanciful imagination than called for in most of my surveys. Considering that, depending on where we live, we've just recently entered the final month of either summer or winter, I thought it might be a good time for us to consider which PSB studio album is the "most summery." But then why stop with summer? How about every season of the year? So which ones are most autumnal, wintry, and vernal (the latter meaning "spring-like"), too? And if you think it's a silly question, please remember: I've always regarded my surveys more as game-like activities than serious data-collecting devices. Besides, when you get right down to it, it's not so much the actual choices themselves that matter, but rather the rationale for making those choices. I promise to share my own reasons when I post the final results two weeks from today. In the meantime, have fun with it!

Thanks very much to Kevin Crossman for reminding me that a shorter "Radio Edit" of "Axis" was released to radio stations and used in the music video, so an excellent argument can be made that that should be considered the "single version" of the song. I've therefore revised its entry in my new list of how PSB singles differ from their album versions.

The Flag Counter routine on my home page indicates that I've just received my first site visitor from Ethiopia! So I've added that nation to my "A World of Pet Shop Boys Fans" page. (This now gives me an unbroken chain of countries from the northern to southern tips of Africa.) And I extend a very hearty greeting to my Ethiopian visitor!

August 26, 2017

I've finally gotten around to creating and posting a new page for my "PSB Lists" section that lists, in an admittedly general, undetailed way, how each of the Pet Shop Boys' singles differ (if at all) from its album version. It's the sort of thing that I often catch myself wondering about for any given song, so I figure some of you might also like this information collected in one spot.

August 24, 2017

Thanks so much to Carlos Javier Perez (previously known here as "Lalo PSB") for sharing some thoughts and observations about "I Want to Wake Up" that have inspired me to add a new second paragraph and a new second bullet-point annotation to my commentary on that song.

August 23, 2017

It didn't take long for me to get a response to the first question that site visitor that Daniel B. and I posed just below (August 22). Thanks so much to Eddie Xavier for confirming that on the original 2006 vinyl edition of Fundamental, "God Willing" does indeed appear as the final track on Side 1—a situation that has been rectified with the 2017 vinyl reissue, on which "God Willing" takes its rightful place as the first track on Side 2, where it serves as a prelude to "Luna Park." I've updated my entry for "God Willing" to reflect this information. Thanks again, everybody!

August 22, 2017

Thanks to regular site visitor Daniel B. for raising a couple questions that, to be honest, I don't know the answers to. But I'm confident that some of you, my other readers, will know the answer to at least one of them (namely, the first):

August 20, 2017

As every Pet Shop Boys fanatic knows, their instrumental "Casting a Shadow" was composed as "background music" to the total solar eclipse that was visible in the United Kingdom on August 11, 1999. So it should serve as the perfect music to accompany tomorrow's (Monday, August 21) total eclipse across much of the United States as well. The trick, however, is how to time the start of its play in such a way as for its quieter middle section to coincide precisely—as it was designed to do—with the period of totality, when the sun, save its corona, is completely obscured by the moon. And I don't know the answer to that question. Obviously you can't begin when the moon's shadow first appears at the edge of the sun, which (as I understand it) is more than an hour before totality. But you can't wait until totality begins, either, for the timing will be off. I can't offer any guidance on this, but I hope someone else can. I haven't been able to find anything definitive about it online. On the other hand, it may not be possible at all with this eclipse; I believe the length of totality varies from one eclipse to another and from one location to another, so the Boys surely composed it to match the 1999 event.