What's New? – Recent Updates & Additions

August 17, 2017

I've heard from no fewer than four site visitors in response to my notice just below about Prejudice and Pride: The People's History of LGBTQ Britain, first mentioned just below. Thanks so much to Jane Morley (again), Alan D, Alan F, and Erik H for writing to let me know which Pet Shop Boys songs could be heard in it and/or to share alternate links to one or both episodes. Episode 1 can be viewed on YouTube, and Episode 2 is currently available on a streaming site. (I can't vouch for how long they may continue to be available in either location.) The PSB songs used in this two-part documentary are "It's a Sin" (once in each episode), "Being Boring," "West End Girls," "It Couldn't Happen Here," and "Go West." I've now noted these occurrences in the entries for those songs in my list of Pet Shop Boys tracks used in "non-musical" films and TV shows. Thanks again to you all!

Thanks as well to Eddie Xavier for pointing out that noted London artist Duggie Fields, who personified Greed in the "It's a Sin" music video, deserves a spot in my list of notable guest appearances in PSB videos. You can now find him there at #12.

August 15, 2017

Thanks to Jane Morley for letting me know that a new two-part BBC documentary, Prejudice and Pride: The People's History of LGBTQ Britain, includes some segments concerning the Pet Shop Boys and also features some of their music. She shared a weblink where one can view it, but apparently not where I live; I get a message saying that the "player only works in the U.K." If any of you have seen it or can watch it and let me know which PSB songs can be heard in this documentary (and ideally the contexts in which they're heard), I'll be very pleased to add them to my list of occurrences of their music in "non-musical" films and TV shows. (PSB definitely feature in Part 2; I'm not sure about Part 1.) In the meantime, thanks again, Jane!

August 14, 2017

Thanks so much to Sveto for noticing and reporting my oversight in not including the two officially released versions of "After All" on my Battleship Potemkin page, the other version being on the live album Concrete. That oversight is now rectified!

I've just noticed that the official Pet Shop Boys website, with regard to the Charlotte Ballet performing the American debut of The Most Incredible Thing in March (as noted below), points to an article that mentions the dance company touring. While this article does not specifically state that The Most Incredible Thing will be in their touring repertoire, it doesn't say it won't be, either. So let's keep our fingers crossed and hope that the Charlotte Ballet will indeed be bringing it to cities convenient to a much larger segment of U.S. PSB fandom!

August 13, 2017

I've posted the final results of my poll of the past fortnight, in which I asked my site visitors to select 18 aside from singles that would make up an imaginary "Best of Pet Shop Boys" album. This proved to be the most popular survey, at least judged by the number of voters, that I've run in more than four years. (The last one to have more voters was the week of July 21, 2013.) I doubt that my new one will prove as popular, but who knows? It's not unusual for fans to talk about and debate the choice of the first single from an album, and sometimes even the second single. But rarely is much made of the choice of the final single. So my new survey seeks in its small way to rectify this. I've listed the final single from each PSB studio album and ask that for each you choose from four statements the one with which you most strongly agree. Do you think it was a good choice for the final single? Do you think it should have been an earlier single rather than the last? Do you think it shouldn't have been released as a single at all? Or do you not agree with any of the statements?

In case you're wondering, I'm going to hold off on running a "Rating Project" survey on the previously unreleased songs appearing on the recent album reissues for at least another two weeks, but probably for no more than four weeks. I want to make sure everyone has ample opportunity to hear and "absorb" these new songs, and I also want to run such a poll for no more than a single week (to be consistent with the single-week tenures of all the other ratings surveys). I haven't yet decided whether I'll resume weekly polls the week of August 27 or the week of September 11. It will almost certainly be one or the other, but whichever it turns out to be will probably involve those ratings. So please stay tuned!

In the meantime, thanks to Robert Detjens for noticing and reporting a typo, now corrected, on my page for the album Fundamental. And thanks again to Alexey from Russia for a correction on my "Integral" page, clarifying a point of confusion I had regarding which releases had which versions of the "PSB Perfect Immaculate Mix."

August 12, 2017

The Pet Shop Boys' official website has posted the marvelous news that their ballet The Most Incredible Thing will see its U.S. premiere this coming March, performed by the Charlotte Ballet of Charlotte, North Carolina. (You can read a little more about it on the Charlotte Ballet's blog site.) I've long wondered which enterprising U.S. ballet company would first get around to scheduling a production, and I'm delighted that it should come from a comparatively unexpected quarter like North Carolina—yes, even though that state has long had an intense rivalry with its northern neighbor, my native state of Virginia. So my only regret is that it won't be in Virginia instead. Well, that and the fact that it's far from where I'm currently living as well.

Meanwhile, thanks to Alexey from Russia for letting me know that the "PSB Perfect Immaculate Mix" of "Integral" on the new Fundamental reissue bonus disc is somewhat shorter than the version previously released on Disco 4. Further research into this matter suggests that the only difference between the two is that the newer release doesn't have the "early fade." I've updated the Mixes/Versions listing for that song accordingly.

August 10, 2017

Having received his permission to do so, I've added Kfos to my Thank You page in recognition of his suggestion yesterday (see below). Thanks again!

August 9, 2017

Thanks to John Hunt for letting me know that the new reissues of Nightlife, Release, and Fundamental have made it onto the official U.K. album chart, which, as far as I'm concerned, qualifies them for a week added to their totals on my U.K./U.S. charts page. This chart performance is apparently unlike that of the 2001 reissues of the preceding studio albums—which, if I'm not mistaken, did not reappear on the U.K. album chart at that time—which probably says a great deal about changes in album-buying habits in the intervening years.

Following up on my post a couple days ago (see August 7 below) about my having been quoted in a recent special issue of Classic Pop, Edwin Green has shared the precise quote. I've therefore updated my entry about this on my "I've Been Cited!" page. Thanks, Edwin!

And thanks to Kfos for reminding me of the Chris Lowe "Summer Mix" of "Minimal" done 'way back when with the U-Myx software and at one time (but apparently not any longer) readily available for online listening. So it probably belongs in my list of "official" remixes for that track. Update made!

August 8, 2017

One of my site visitors has asked me about something that's either a remarkable coincidence or evidence of a previously unstated (at least as far as I know) inspiration for a Pet Shop Boys song. It's a little complicated, but here goes –

Back in late 2000, when Chris and Neil were working on songs that would eventually end up on Release or in their musical Closer to Heaven—specifically on November 8 of that year, as noted in Neil's journal entries quoted in Issue 25 (April 2001) of their fan publication Literally—Chris worked on an unreleased track titled "Satisfaction Guaranteed." The very next day, November 9, the Boys wrote (as Neil's journal puts it) "the basis of a new song called 'Can I be the one?'" This second song would eventually become "Love Life."

My site visitor happened to notice that an old dance hit (released on an album in 1973 but not as a single until the following year) by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes titled "Satisfaction Guaranteed (or Take Your Love Back)" bears a slight similarity to "Love Life," most notably in the last two notes of its chorus, "…love back," which seem virtually identical (except for the wording) to the "…love life" repeated in the chorus of the PSB number. (Here's a link to the older song on YouTube; pay special attention at around the 0:20 mark and elsewhere.) I believe we've all assumed that the "Satisfaction Guaranteed" Chris was working on in November 2000 was a Tennant-Lowe original. In fact, I've long listed it as such. But maybe not. Perhaps it was actually a remake of that Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes song that Chris was experimenting with. But then maybe the Boys abandoned the idea of a cover and used part of the backing track Chris had created as the "basis" for what eventually became "Love Life." After all, it wouldn't have been the first time (or the last) that Neil and Chris had used an abandoned attempted cover of an old song or a short sample from one as the basis for a brand new song. Just a couple documented examples are "Decadence" having been based on a sample from Aretha Franklin's version of "I Say A Little Prayer," and "Party Song" being based on Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." So could this be the case with "Love Life"? Or is this indeed just an amazing coincidence?

Please note, however, that I am not suggesting plagiarism, copyright violation, or anything like it on the Boys' part. Two notes (and that's pretty much what it boils down to) that share one word, "love," do not constitute plagiarism by any stretch of the imagination. Inspiration, yes, but certainly not plagiarism.

Thanks so much, by the way, to Mikko for writing to me about this! Whatever the actual case, it's fascinating!

August 7, 2017

Thanks to Edwin Green (it's good to hear from you again!) for informing me that a new special edition of Classic Pop magazine devoted to Elton John quotes me in some context related to Sir Elton and the Pet Shop Boys, though while doing so they misspell my name. Well, it's not the first time that has happened and, if I'm lucky, it won't be the last. wink I'm still trying to learn more about exactly how I'm quoted. In the meantime, I've updated my "I've Been Cited!" page with a note about this, which I'll update once I do learn more about it.

August 6, 2017

Thanks to Erik H. for alerting me to a complete tracklisting on Amazon for the upcoming four-disc reissue of Liza Minnelli's Results—produced, of course, by the Pet Shop Boys—which has inspired me to make a few updates to the Mixes/Versions entries on my pages devoted to several of its songs: "Losing My Mind," "Don't Drop Bombs," and "Love Pains."

August 4, 2017

The Pet Shop Boys' official website today announced that Medellín, Colombia, has been added to the Super Tour with a show scheduled there for October 6. I've updated my PSB Tours page accordingly.

I've also added "The Performance of My Life" to my list of songs in which Neil has stated that he is employing a female lyrical persona.

Thanks to Alistair for correcting me on the more common meaning of "lay-by" in the United Kingdom, which has inspired me to make some slight adjustments to pertinent annotations on my pages devoted to "Ring Road" and "The Truck Driver and His Mate."

Finally, I've obtained some fascinating information regarding the reason for the PSB demo of "A Little Black Dress" not being included among the bonus tracks with the new reissue of Nightlife. As it so happens, the Boys had very much wanted to include it, and the surrounding difficulties actually delayed the release of the reissues—which now explains that mystery! To learn more, please check out the newly revised fourth paragraph in my commentary on that song. And thanks so much to my anonymous but very reliable source within the PSB organization for sharing the details.

August 3, 2017

I've added "Paris City Boy" as an especially interesting (well, at least I think so) new #16 in my alphabetical list of Pet Shop Boys songs with extra lyrics.

One of my regular site visitors has suggested a new music video by finn. & Dirk von Lowtzow (the latter of whom recently did a cover of "I Want a Dog," cited of course on my PSB covers page) as a good candidate for inclusion on my page devoted to tributes to and parodies of the iconic cover of Actually. I'm not so sure myself. I mean, it's two guys wearing tuxes, but no yawn. Do just two guys in tuxes standing still do the trick? What do you think? If you have strong opinions about it one way or the other, either Yes or No, please feel free to let me know. In the meantime, thanks to the site visitor who suggested this; I'll withhold your identity for the time being, pending the outcome of this little experiment in popular opinion.

I just realized that I've been rather remiss in having my website "recrawled" by my search service. I normally do it about once a month, but in this case I hadn't done so since mid-March! I've now rectified that situation and ensured that my site has been recrawled. Hence, my search function is fully updated. (By the way, I could have the recrawling task automated in such a way that it does so on a regular basis without my needing to take action—but then I would have to pay extra for that.)

August 2, 2017

Thanks to Jeff Durst for suggesting that the new "Full French Version" of "Paris City Boy" merits a spot (#15) in my list of "the strangest things the Pet Shop Boys have ever done"—not by virtue of it merely being in French, but rather the meaning of those French lyrics, which take the song in a totally new direction.

You may like to check out a superb new posting to the website Gasholder on the subject of "Why Pet Shop Boys' Being Boring Rocks," which also calls attention to a number of other PSB gems outside the usual candidates. Of course, I'm very pleased that at the end it happens to point to "this comprehensive and highly informative blog by Wayne Studer." While I personally don't regard this site as a "blog," I certainly won't quibble over definitions. Thanks so much to the writer, Stephen Emms, for citing my website and letting me know about it!

Meanwhile, my current poll may prove to be one of the most popular I've ever run, at least judging by the number of voters. Just four days into its run, it already boasts more voters than the preceding survey did in its entire two weeks—and it still has roughly a week-and-a-half to go. What's more, I've received a number of compliments about it, including at least three from brand new visitors for whom my website is apparently a fresh discovery, possibly inspired by the new reissues to search and explore. Needless to say, I'm delighted about this turn of events. Thank you all so much for your interest, support, and words of encouragement!

July 31, 2017

Thanks to Eke Webb for pointing out a spelling error, now corrected, in my commentary for "Alone Again, Naturally" and a broken link, now fixed, on my page devoted to "The Sodom and Gomorrah Show." Thanks as well to Terry Dean Bartlett (whose name I've just added to my Thank You page) for alerting me to an error with regard to the rare "Ambient Mix" of "Music for Boys," which I've also corrected. And I'm also grateful to Erik H. for pointing out that the printed lyrics of "A Powerful Friend" provided with the reissues states a certain French phrase used in that song as "à coucher" rather than "en coucher" as I had previously believed, so I've made some slight adjustments both to my commentary on that song and to my list of non-English words and phrases used in Pet Shop Boys songs. (It really doesn't change the meaning, however.) Again, my thanks to you all!

As promised, here are some of the highlights of the recent changes I've made (aside, of course, from my new or revised commentaries on the previously unreleased songs, noted yesterday):

Really, that's just scratching the surface, but I believe those are most of the "biggies." I've made a great many other much less substantive updates as well, such as new or revised mixes/versions and the like, but it would be a very long list. Besides, I don't think I'm done with all of those sorts of updates yet.

July 30, 2017

I've posted the final results of my survey of the past two weeks, in which I asked my site visitors to name the Pet Shop Boys album that has caused (or still causes) them the greatest "cognitive dissonance" (contradictory feelings or beliefs, and/or frustrated expectations) or something like it. It's much too soon for me to ask you to rate the previously unreleased but now newly released tracks on the recent round of album reissues, so I'm going to hold off on that for at least two weeks, and perhaps four, to give you all time to hear them and to form good, solid opinions of them. Instead, my poll for the next two weeks posits an "alternate universe best-of album" consisting of 18 songs, evenly divided across the Boys' career from album to album, that were not released as singles but which nevertheless exemplify, from your perspective, PSB at their musical best.

Meanwhile, my efforts to catch up on all that the new reissues have to offer are still under way. I've now made major updates to my entries for the newly released songs: "Playing in the Streets," "The Night Is a Time to Explore Who You Are," "Kazak," "No Excuse," "Reunion" (only a little to add since my previous updates to that one), "Ring Road," "One-Way Street" (again, just a few changes), and, finally, the non-Tennant/Lowe song "Dancing in the Dusk." Please keep in mind, however, that these are just early impressions; I'm sure I'll have some modifications and additions in the days ahead.

I've also been making lots of minor updates to my commentaries on various other songs—too many to bother enumerating here—as well as adjustments to assorted lists—again too many to bother delineating at this time. I still have more to do, however. For instance, one of most daunting tasks has been to determine which songs I need to add to my list of PSB songs with "extra lyrics." I've already added "Radiophonic" and "The Sodom and Gomorrah Show" to that list, and there may be a few others.

Tomorrow (Monday) evening, after I get home from work, I hope to provide a list here of the "highlights" of the scattered updates I've made over the weekend. I won't be able to enumerate every single change, but I do expect to list the ones that strike me as the most significant.

July 29, 2017

I'm still in the process of listening to the previously unreleased songs from the new reissues and "digesting" them to the point that I'm ready to share my comments/analyses. I have, however, had a chance to read through the accompanying booklets, from which I've begun gleaning a great many scattered updates for my site. I've already made some of them, but quite a few remain. I'm going to hold off on enumerating them here until I've finished, which will also help reduce the likelihood of unwanted "spoilers." (See, it works both ways. wink )

Thanks to Richard Firth and John M. from SoCal for sharing their observations about the newly issued rendition of "Alone Again, Naturally," which is noticeably different from the version previously granted very limited promo release. Meanwhile, I've managed to update a few of my entries for the previously unreleased songs, but I haven't gotten to all of them. I'm still working on it, but I hope to get it all done—or at least most of it—before the weekend is out (U.S. time). Stay tuned!

July 28, 2017

Delivered today by Amazon, the three new reissues of Nightlife, Release, and Fundamental were waiting for me when I got home from work. Because I'll be preoccupied this evening with a social commitment, I won't have time to listen to them and read the accompanying booklets until tomorrow, after which I'll start making appropriate site updates. In the meantime, I would greatly appreciate it if you would not write to me with any comments or observations about any of the tracks, at least not until after the weekend and I've had a chance to make those updates. In short, please, no "spoilers"—at least not for a few days. Thanks so much!

Having received his permission to do so, I've added Marco Lucht's name to my Thank You page in recognition of his observation day-before-yesterday regarding "Reunion" and "Out of My System" (see below). Thanks again!

July 27, 2017

Thanks to long-time site visitor Neil of St. Louis, who's now actually "Neil of Delaware" since he's relocated, for letting me know about another recent relocation—that of Stargate, who have apparently moved their base of operations from New York to Los Angeles. I've updated my annotation about them accordingly on my page devoted to the song "Reunion."

And thanks to Steve N. for pointing out that, while the bass synth line of the officially unreleased track "You've Got to Start Somewhere" is extremely similar to one used at various points in The Most Incredible Thing, they're not quite identical as I had previously implied. Duly noted, and a corresponding adjustment made.

July 26, 2017

Thanks to Marco Lucht for writing to point out a melodic similarity he has noticed between "Reunion" and the earlier Closer to Heaven song "Out of My System." I agree with his observation, so I've made mention of it in a new bullet-point annotation to my main commentary on "Reunion."

July 25, 2017

There's a marvelous interview with Neil and Chris in the July 26 edition (at least the online edition; I don't know about the print edition) of The Times of London, clearly part of their promotional efforts for their album reissues later this week. From it I've gleaned a delightful anecdote that I've now cited as a new "Pet Shop Boys connection" with David Bowie on the page devoted to my other favorite artists. (It's currently listed last among the PSB/Bowie connections.) Incidentally, while you may be limited in your access to the interview on The Times website, the full interview is readily available elsewhere online. But I'm not going to provide a link for fear of getting the poster and/or website into trouble for possible copyright violation. I trust you'll be able to find it for yourself.

Speaking personally, for the record, that anecdote can't help but make me think of a famous line from Owen Wister's 1902 novel The Virginian: "When you call me that, SMILE." wink Yes, I'm sure Bowie was smiling when he said that.

Speaking of the reissues, I got an email from Amazon today informing me that they have already shipped and should be in my mailbox by Friday, the official day of release. Woo-hoo! Let's hope they're right!

July 23, 2017

A modest little discovery I made earlier today means that I'm able, for the second time in the space of one week, to add a new item to my "Merely to Clarify Matters" section: a 1994 house-music track by Rhythm Inc. titled "Hold On (My Heart)," which bears a Tennant-Lowe co-writing credit because it borrows its lyrics from "Heart." Although I had previously listed it on my covers page, the additional information I've learned about it leads me to award it this "promotion," so to speak. I will, however, continue to note it on my covers page as well with a link to its new entry.

July 22, 2017

Having received his permission to do, I've added David Cooper's name to my Thank You page in recognition of his helpful input yesterday (see just below). Thanks again!

July 21, 2017

Thanks so much to David Cooper for alerting me to an oversight: that I had neglected to include on my "On This Day in Pet Shop Boys History" page the fact that, 15 years ago this evening, our musical heroes brought their Release Tour show to the Oxford Apollo. Oversight now corrected!

Having received his permission to do so, I've added Rob Bainbridge's name to my Thank You page for his contribution of information noted just below. Thanks again!

July 20, 2017

Thanks to Rob Bainbridge for informing me that "Pazzo!" recently made its first appearance in a non-musical TV show, so I've now added it as a new #82 in the corresponding list.

July 19, 2017

Yes, I promised that I wouldn't mention it again—unless I received definitive clarification. But I believe I've now received precisely that. The Pet Shop Boys' own publishers (thank you so much!) has confirmed that, as best they can tell, the Lowe-Tennant co-composing credit for "Moonlight Shadow" is, I quote, "just an error on the label copy." There you have it. But to help forestall any future queries or confusion on this matter, I've added "Moonlight Shadow," with appropriately explanatory comments, to the short list of tracks in my "Merely to Clarify Matters" section, where other such anomalies are also noted.

Thanks as well to Martijn for letting me know about the 2016 book Weapons of Math Destruction (love the punning title!) by mathematician/author Cathy O'Neil, which refers (on page 154) to the 2011 incident—already long noted on my "Strange But True Incidents Involving the Pet Shop Boys" page—in which the IBM supercomputer Watson confused PSB with Oliver Twist. There she describes PSB as a "1980s techno-pop band." OK, she's one of my fellow Americans, so I forgive her for regarding our musical heroes as strictly an 'eighties act. At any rate, although I don't think I need to update my entry on this subject with any mention of O'Neil's book, it's good to know that at least one other writer has now consigned this remarkable incident to long-term print.