What's New? – Recent Updates & Additions

June 26, 2017

Thanks so much to Richard A (whom I've just added to my Thank You page) for calling my attention to the fact that, as related in Chris Heath's book Pet Shop Boys, Literally, several songs on Actually—namely "One More Chance," "It Couldn't Happen Here," and "Rent"—originally boasted lyrics that weren't used in their final versions. I've modified my entries for those three songs to make note of these unused lyrics. I'm not, however, adding them to my list of "Pet Shop Boys songs with 'extra lyrics'" because, as I state in the introduction to that list, I don't include songs in which extra lyrics have never appeared in released versions, which is precisely the case with these three tracks.

To my list of celebrity fans of the Pet Shop Boys outside of the field of music I've added English author and journalist Paul Burston. My source is the recently published book Good As You: From Prejudice to Pride – 30 Years of Gay Britain by Paul Flynn, which states that Burston "went into the interview as a Pet Shop Boys fan and remains one." What interview is he talking about? It's the famous 1994 interview in Attitude magazine in which Neil publicly "came out." Burston was the interviewer.

I've also drawn from that same book a most interesting but perhaps highly questionable bit about "A Man Could Get Arrested" that I've now noted in a new second bullet-point annotation to my commentary on that song.

June 25, 2017

I'm very grateful once again to Erik H, this time for alerting me to a little-known fact that frankly threw me for a loop, but which I've since independently verified as absolutely true: that Sterling Void's and Paris Brightledge's original 1987 recording of "It's Alright," which the Pet Shop Boys famously covered the following year, was actually spelled "It's All Right." I've revised my main entry for the song, modifying both the first paragraph and the first bullet-point annotation, to make note of this remarkable fact and to speculate (or, perhaps more accurately, wonder) briefly why Neil and Chris may have changed the spelling—if indeed it was them who first changed it—especially when you consider that "all right" is traditionally considered more "correct" than "alright." Whatever the case, thanks so much, Erik!

By the way, if you doubt that the Void/Brightledge original was spelled "It's All Right," the Discogs website offers definitive proof.

June 24, 2017

Thanks to Erik H. for reporting a couple typos, now corrected, on my page devoted to the song "Fugitive," as well as for pointing out that its seven-inch version was also released as part of the digital EP bundle for "Beautiful People." He has also inspired me to modify slightly my annotation to my commentary on "A Powerful Friend" in which I briefly discuss the line "Spends all his days en coucher."

Thanks also to Steve N. for spurring me to clarify a comment made in the first paragraph of my entry for "Tall Thin Men" with regard to how the song plays with certain gay stereotypes.

June 20, 2017

Thanks so much to Alan D. (whom I've just now added to my Thank You page) for telling me about the mashup (sort of) "Lovetrain in King's Cross," which applies the lyrics of "King's Cross" to the 2006 instrumental "Lovetrain" by the now-defunct Swedish band Le Sport. I've added it to my list of my favorite "Pet Shop Boys mashups," and I've also listed it under "King's Cross" on my page that lists cover versions of Tennant-Lowe songs (albeit with a "qualifier"). As much as I would like to point you to a place where you can hear it online, the only spots I've been able to locate so far trigger warnings from my computer's antivirus program. I'm not going to be the one to direct you knowingly to somewhere that may do you harm. But if you wish to take the risk, I'll leave it to you to search it out for yourself.

Thanks as well to Martin Kavka for catching not one but two spelling errors, now corrected, on my page for the song "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)." Actually, it was a single mistake, but repeated: I twice misspelled the name of the remixer J.J. Jeczalik. Very careless of me.

June 19, 2017

Last night I had another of my periodic "Pet Shop Boys dreams," one that might be interpreted as a neurotic metaphor for my work on this website. wink If you're interested in that sort of thing, I invite you to read about it.

Thanks to Marc R for noticing and reporting a broken link, now eliminated, on my page that lists samples of other artists' music in PSB recordings.

June 18, 2017

I've posted the final results of my poll of the past two weeks, in which I asked my site visitors to choose what they consider to be the Pet Shop Boys studio album with the strongest "opening salvo" of three songs. The "winner" turned out to be Nightlife. I find this an especially remarkable outcome—actually not very surprising (since I almost made that choice myself) but remarkable nonetheless—since Nightlife rarely tops or even comes near the top of most fans' lists of favorite PSB albums. Yet it does have a strong opening.

It probably comes as no surprise, however, that my new biweekly survey is inspired by the announcement this past week of the release date and track lineup of the upcoming reissues of the albums Nightlife, Release, and Fundamental. I'm wondering whether you're planning to buy (or perhaps have already pre-ordered) any or all of them. Of course, it's more than a simple "yes or no" question.

Incidentally, I already had a different poll question all lined up and ready to go—one suggested by one of my regular site visitors—but I figure the question about the reissues is more timely and pressing. So that other question will have to wait another two weeks.

Thanks to Steve N. for sharing an observation about "West End Girls" that expands a bit on a point that I had already made in my first bullet-annotation to that song. But I like how he put it, so I've added a brief quotation from him to what I say there.

One other thing – yesterday, as "advance research" for the song "No Excuse," which will be among the bonus tracks accompanying the aforementioned reissue of Release, I watched the 2015 film Legend, which deals with the story of the Kray brothers. I wouldn't call it a "great" film by any means, but I enjoyed it, and Tom Hardy delivered an incredible performance in the dual role of Reggie and Ronnie Kray. (If I hadn't already known it was the same actor in both roles, I would never have guessed.) So if you haven't already seen it, I do recommend it. But be forewarned: it does include a few scenes of very intense, graphic violence.

June 16, 2017

Thanks so much to:

June 14, 2017

It's just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, but I've managed to make a good-sized dent in the task of updating my website to accommodate the upcoming album reissues and their bonus tracks. I've created new pages—largely "placeholders" at this early pre-release juncture—for the previously unreleased songs: "Playing in the Streets," "The Night Is a Time to Explore Who You Are," "Kazak," "No Excuse," "Reunion," "Ring Road," "One-Way Street," and "Dancing in the Dusk." I've also moved to a new location two previously officially unreleased but widely bootlegged songs, "Motoring" and "Tall Thin Men." And I've made assorted other corresponding adjustments, although I'm quite sure that I've missed some things that will need to be fixed in the days ahead. For instance, I still need to move "Baby," "Jack and Jill Party," and "The Performance of My Life" to a different section, but I'll plan on taking care of that tomorrow evening. And I've left "Believe/Song for Guy" in my section devoted to "live covers" by PSB, though if it turns out that the new release is a studio recording, I'll move it to the appropriate section. Then again, I may decide to move it anyway and simply modify my criteria for the various sections. I'll have to ponder that. There may also be some broken links on account of these changes; I'll be looking more closely for such flaws once things settle down a bit.

Speaking of one of those previously unreleased songs, I've added "The Night Is a Time to Explore Who You Are" to my list of the longest Pet Shop Boys song titles. The song that got kicked off to make room for it? – "Try It (I'm in Love with a Married Man)."

Thanks to Robert Detjens for suggesting that I add the possibility of samples from some other artists' recordings in several specific PSB tracks to my new list of "Nagging PSB 'musical mysteries.'" In appreciation, I've added his name to my Thank You page.

June 13, 2017

FYI, the reissues of Nightlife, Release, and Fundamental with "Further Listening" bonus discs are now available for pre-order from Amazon and Amazon.uk. (Thanks to Alan D. for alerting me to this!) Although Amazon reported that they will be released in the U.K. on July 7 and in the U.S. on July 28, the Pet Shop Boys' official website has affirmed a July 28 release date period, regardless of the locale. As with the 2001 reissues, the original album tracklists are unchanged, but the "Further Listening" discs are of course what's brand new. Here are the "bonus" tracklists:

Nightlife Further Listening

Disc 2

  1. Vampires (Demo)
  2. For All of Us (Demo)
  3. Call Me Old-Fashioned (Demo)
  4. Friendly Fire
  5. Believe / Song for Guy (with Elton John)
  6. Sail Away
  7. It Doesn't Often Snow at Christmas (Fan Club Mix)
  8. Nightlife
  9. Playing in the Streets
  10. Tall Thin Men
  11. Radiophonic (Demo)

Disc 3

  1. Somebody Else's Business
  2. Silver Age
  3. Screaming
  4. For All of Us
  5. The Ghost of Myself
  6. Casting a Shadow
  7. I Don't Know What You Want But I Can't Give It Anymore (The PSB Extension)
  8. Was It Worth It? (Live)
  9. Lies
  10. Paris City Boy (Full French)
  11. Positive Role Model
  12. Somebody Else's Business (Extended Mix)

Release Further Listening

Disc 2

  1. Between Two Islands
  2. Searching for the Face of Jesus
  3. Time on My Hands
  4. Motoring (Demo)
  5. Love Life
  6. Transparent
  7. Sexy Northerner
  8. The Night Is a Time to Explore Who You Are (Demo)
  9. Closer to Heaven (Slow Version)
  10. Run, Girl, Run (Demo)
  11. I Didn't Get Where I Am Today
  12. Always
  13. Home and Dry (Ambient Mix)
  14. Bright Young Things
  15. Kazak
  16. A Powerful Friend (John Peel Version)
  17. If Looks Could Kill (John Peel Version)

Disc 3

  1. Try It (I'm in Love with a Married Man)
  2. Here (PSB New Extended Mix)
  3. If Looks Could Kill
  4. A Powerful Friend
  5. Party Song
  6. No Excuse (Demo)
  7. Blue on Blue
  8. Jack and Jill Party (Demo)
  9. Baby (Demo)
  10. Flamboyant (Oringal Demo)
  11. Miracles
  12. Flamboyant (7'' Mix)
  13. Numb (Demo)
  14. In Private (with Elton John)
  15. Alone Again, Naturally (with Elton John)
  16. Reunion (Electro Mix)
  17. Bright Young Things
  18. We're the Pet Shop Boys
  19. It's a Sin (Barfly Version)

Fundamental Further Listening

Disc 2

  1. Fugitive (Richard X Extended Mix)
  2. Ring Road (Demo)
  3. The Performance of My Life (Demo)
  4. One-Way Street (Demo)
  5. Girls Don't Cry
  6. The Resurrectionist
  7. The Sodom and Gomorrah Show (Original Demo)
  8. Dancing in the Dusk (Demo)
  9. After the Event
  10. The Former Enfant Terrible
  11. No Time for Tears (Orchestral Mix)
  12. God Willing (Original Full-Length Mix)
  13. I'm with Stupid (PSB Maxi-Mix)
  14. Answer the Phone (Ringtone)
  15. Where Are You? (Ringtone)
  16. Water (Ringtone)
  17. Numb (Single Edit)
  18. One Night
  19. A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi"
  20. Transfer (Visionaire Mix)
  21. Integral (PSB Perfect Immaculate 7'' Mix)
  22. Integral (PSB Perfect Immaculate Mix)

All I can say right now is, "Wow!" The previously unreleased songs have me salivating in particular. Naturally, I'll share more information here (and make appropriate site updates) in the days and weeks ahead as I learn more.

June 11, 2107

To my "PSB Lists" section I've added, near the end, two new lists that I've been pondering for quite some time. The first is admittedly trivial, even a little silly, but I think it's fun: "Burning questions posed by the titles of Pet Shop Boys songs." The second, however, is somewhat more serious, at least from a musicological perspective. It's a very short list (so far) of what I regard as "Nagging PSB 'musical mysteries.'" I hope you like them. Not so incidentally, if you can think of any other "musical mysteries" related to the Pet Shop Boys, I'll be glad if you were to share them with me. And if—

  1. They really are musical mysteries—for instance, they don't just concern the Boys' personal lives,
  2. I think they're sufficiently intriguing, and
  3. I don't know the "answer" myself

—I may, with your permission, add it to my list. Thanks!

By the way, thanks so much to Andrew Shaw for helping to clear up one of those "musical mysteries" right off the bat: whether actress, dancer, and TV personality Rosie Perez is in fact the voice behind the "Banji Girl" vocals in "The Boy Who Couldn't Keep His Clothes On," as has been asserted elsewhere online. As it turns out, she's not, so I've removed that item from the list right away and made a few appropriate adjustments in the corresponding annotation to my primary commentary on the song.

Finally, just as a reminder, my current survey will run for one more week as I'm now on a biweekly polling schedule. Next Sunday I'll be switching over to a new poll. I think I've got some pretty good questions lined up for the months ahead—some of my own, others suggested by you, my site visitors—so please stay tuned!

June 8, 2017

The Dutch duo Vintage Fortuna has just posted their new cover of "It's a Sin" online. No, I can't deny I'm annoyed that, once again (and again and again), of the hundreds of songs Tennant and Lowe have written, "It's a Sin" is the one that another act has chosen to cover. But at least Vintage Fortuna earns credits in my book for specifically stating (on Soundcloud, where you can listen to it) that they recorded it "as a tribute to one of our favourite pop acts: The Pet Shop Boys." You can also hear it on YouTube. Of course, I've made note of it on my page that lists covers of PSB songs.

Thanks so much to Luciano P. for noticing and reporting a dating error, now corrected, on today's entry on my "On This Day in Pet Shop Boys History" page.

June 7, 2017

I guess this time it just won't happen. Although "Undertow" has been doing well on the British dance charts (as reported on the official PSB website), it still hasn't cracked the latest U.S. dance charts posted by Billboard. I regret to say that, at this point, we can pretty much give up on it—though I certainly won't mind if I'm yet proven wrong. Considering how well the Pet Shop Boys have traditionally done on the Billboard dance charts, I wonder what the difference was this time around. I suppose it could have been the track itself, but I suspect more likely it simply wasn't given much of a "push" to the U.S. market.

June 5, 2017

The official Pet Shop Boys website has announced that, because their first show sold out so quickly, they've added a second concert date at Sage Gatehead the following evening, September 3. I've updated my PSB Tours page accordingly.

June 4, 2017

I've posted the final results of my survey of the past week, in which I asked my site visitors to choose the Pet Shop Boys song in which they believe Neil does the best or most "convincing" job of portraying a female narrator. As previously announced, my new poll begins a series of biweekly summer surveys in which I plan—with the option to change my mind should the need arise at some point—for each of my polls for the months of June, July, and August to run for two weeks rather than the "traditional" one. For the first of these regular biweekly polls, I'm asking a question suggested not too long ago by regular site visitor Andrew Smith. He proposed that I ask which PSB studio album has, in your opinion, the best opening sequence of three songs in a row—or, to put it another way, the album that has the strongest "opening salvo." Thanks for a great question, Andrew!

I hadn't heard about last night's dreadful terrorist attacks in London until about a half-hour after I made the updates noted just above. Such terrible events almost make me feel guilty about carrying on with my routine activities. But, then again, I believe "carrying on" is precisely what we must do. In the meantime, my thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their loved ones, and I wish all the best for my site visitors who live in London.

May 30, 2017

I've posted a brand new page in my Lists section: a highly subjective list of my ten favorite Pet Shop Boys magazine covers. I hope you like it.

May 29, 2017

I wish a very happy and meaningful Memorial Day to those of you who observe this particular U.S. holiday. As I've mentioned occasionally in years past, I lost an uncle whom I never knew on account of the Second World War, and I'm sure I'm not the only one here who can say something similar. This day always makes me think of him and those countless others who made the ultimate sacrifice to help preserve the freedoms that most of us now enjoy.

On a much lighter note, I found something today on Amazon U.K. that not only resonates with my survey last week but also seems somewhat ironic for reasons that should be immediately apparent to any Pet Shop Boys fan. Check it out!

Meanwhile, to my list of "Pet Shop Boys" that aren't our Pet Shop Boys, I've added at #13 a recent novel by that title, advertised as a "gay paranormal romance," and at #14 a painting (not of Chris and Neil) by contemporary U.K. artist Linda Benton. I don't suppose our musical heroes get any royalties from this sort of thing, do they? wink

I don't recall ever having seen this Guardian PSB infographic before—maybe I have, but just don't remember—but, being a fan of infographics as well as of the Boys, I find it irresistible. Besides, this very website gets a credit at the bottom as one of its sources of information. Woo-hoo!

May 28, 2017

I've posted the final results of this past week's poll, in which I asked my site visitors about the most they've ever spent on a Pet Shop Boys-related item, not counting concert tickets and associated VIP "Meet 'n' Greet" events. My new survey for the week ahead is another in my occasional series of polls based on one of my site lists, in this case that of PSB songs in which Neil is avowedly singing from the perspective of a female narrator. I'm asking you to choose the song in which you believe Neil best portrays a female narrator or best conveys a "feminine" perspective.

As a reminder, this will probably be my final poll for a while to run for just a single week. Barring something taking place to make me change my mind—and I do reserve that prerogative—my subsequent surveys for the months of June through August will run for two weeks each.

May 27, 2017

I'm sure this has happened to all of you: suddenly having a realization that seems so obvious that you find yourself wondering, "Now, why didn't I think of that before?" That happened to me just this morning with regard to the songs "Love Comes Quickly" and "You Choose," which express diametrically opposed notions about whether love simply "happens" to you or it's a personal choice. But my sudden realization is that these apparent contradictions can easily be reconciled through commonplace personal experience, as explained in a new second paragraph added to my commentary on the latter song.