What's New? – Recent Updates & Additions

August 20, 2109

Thanks to Raymond for reporting a longstanding typo, now corrected, on my page that lists Pet Shop Boys songs used in non-musical films and TV shows.

August 19, 2019

It's not something that I, being thoroughly illiterate in German, would have noticed myself. But thanks so much to regular site visitor and native speaker Jens Boldt for informing me that a couple of the lines in German in the Musik song "Ich bin Musik" are grammatically flawed—almost certainly an unintentional result of German not being the Pet Shop Boys' native tongue. I've made appropriate references to these flaws both in my annotations to that song and to its entry in my list of PSB tracks that contain non-English words and phrases.

August 18, 2019

Thanks to Neil of Delaware for noticing another lyrical difference—"Mao's let you down" as opposed to "Mao is obscene"—between the Pet Shop Boys' demo version of "Run Girl Run!" and later Frances Barber versions. I've now mentioned this in a revised annotation to my commentary on that song.

August 17, 2019

Thanks to Andrew Shaw for noticing that I had overlooked updating the release information for the assorted tracks from Musik, which I've now rectified. He also suggested that Frances Barber's reference to Lotte Lenya in describing "Mongrel" might be stylistic in nature as well as thematic, which I happen to agree with, so I've mentioned that observation as well.

Thanks also to Rob Bainbridge for providing a correction and some very interesting additional information about the new film Blinded by the Light, in which "It's a Sin" plays a surprisingly important role. Using the information provided by Rob, I've expanded the pre-existing entry for that film in the section about this song at #21 in my list of Pet Shop Boys tracks used in non-musical films and television shows.

August 15, 2019

Thanks to Alexey from Russia for writing to me about a lyrical variation between Frances Barber's renditions of "Run Girl Run!" and the Pet Shop Boys' own demo, in which the original "Joan of Arc on LSD" changes to the later "Joan of Arc on TV." I'd noticed this long ago but didn't think to comment on it. That was, I suppose, an oversight on my part. I've now noted it in an expansion on a pre-existing bullet-point annotation about that line in my commentary on that song.

August 14, 2019

I've added a new annotation—triggered in part by an observation made to me by regular site visitor Steve N.—to my commentary on "Mongrel" that delves more deeply into the significance of Billie Trix's choice of that word to describe herself. Thanks also to Steve for reminding me that "Mongrel" deserves a spot (which I've placed at #29) in my list of Pet Shop Boys songs with "Russian connections."

August 13, 2019

It's remarkable the things one stumbles upon while rummaging through old memorabilia stuffed away in a closet. This morning I happened upon a photocopy of a feature on the Pet Shop Boys from a 1992 issue of Q Magazine, including evidence of a deleted stanza, never actually used, for the song "So Hard." I provide more information about this discovery, including the excised lyrics in question, in a new bullet-point annotation to my commentary on that song.

August 12, 2019

Thanks to John McFadden for pointing out a curious but perhaps meaningless and happenstance variation in the lyrics of "Friendly Fire" as it's performed in Musik as opposed to its original Closer to Heaven rendition: a "reversal" in the order of the lines "Girls to the left of me / Boys to the right of me." I've now mentioned this in a new bullet-point annotation to my commentary on the song.

Thanks also to Stuart R for letting me know that the "foreign language bit" at the end of the Pet Shop Boys' collaboration with Robbie Williams, "She's Madonna," begins with the nonsense-Spanish "Bono estante," which has an interesting origin that I've now noted in an expansion of a pre-existing annotation to my entry for that song.

August 11, 2019

I've posted the final results of my survey of the past two weeks, in which I asked my site visitors to choose the three Pet Shop Boys songs they would include in a DJ dance-set embracing tunes from the 1970s, '80s, and '90s only. My new poll for the next two weeks returns to my series of "album era" surveys, although it may be the last one for a while. This time I'm jumping to the Boys' self-described "Imperial Phase": the Actually era. What are your three favorite Pet Shop Boys songs from that fabled period of their career, when they were at their peak of mainstream commercial popularity? (After all, it accounts for no fewer than three of their four U.K. #1 singles!)

Having received his permission to do so, I've added Tobias Gadau's name to my Thank You page in recognition of his input yesterday (see below).

August 10, 2019

On my page that lists places mentioned by name in Pet Shop Boys songs I've now noted that Berlin and Russia (via its adjectival inflection, "Russian") are name-dropped in "Mongrel." I've also added Frances Barber to my list of other musical artists with whom the Boys have collaborated.

Thanks to Tobias Gadau for observing that a song titled "For Every Moment" has long been listed on my page devoted to unreleased Tennant-Lowe songs. Whether the new song with that title from Musik is essentially the same song (perhaps somewhat modified) or an entirely different song merely with a "repurposed" title is unknown at this time. Only Neil and/or Chris can clarify that matter one way or the other. In the meantime, however, I've made note of this fact both in that list and in my main entry for the new song.

August 7, 2019

Thanks to Andrew Shaw for reminding me that, now that its songs have been released, I needed to make a few updates to my introductory information about Musik. Done!

Thanks also to Jeff Durst for sharing his very reasonable speculation that the word "Music" at the start of "Ich bin Musik" may be sampled from "Music for Boys"—it certainly sounds likely—which I've noted in a new annotation to my commentary on the newer song. I've also added it as a "maybe" item in my list of "other" songs in which Chris's voice can be heard (that is, other than those in which he's a/the lead vocalist).

August 6, 2019

The four new songs from Musik have been added to the lyrics section of the Pet Shop Boy's official website. This has enabled me to make a few necessary corrections in the corresponding entries here on my site. It has also reminded me to add several pertinent lines from "Ich bin Musik" to my page that lists PSB songs that contain non-English words and phrases. And thanks to Erik H. for catching an oversight on my part, now corrected.

August 5, 2019

Having received his permission to do so, I've added Tobias Weber's name to my Thank You page in recognition of the new information he provided the other day (see below).

The new songs from Musik are now available from various streaming services and can also be heard on YouTube. I've made a number of updates to my entries for those songs, although what I've written should still be considered very preliminary. I'll likely expand on at least some of those entries in the days ahead.

In the meantime, I'm extremely busy with personal business that has nothing to do with the Pet Shop Boys or this website. Unfortunately, this means that I may be somewhat slower than usual in responding to any emails and/or making updates here. I hope you will excuse these unavoidable delays.

August 2, 2019

From a new YouTube promo video for Musik we've now learned the names of all the new songs in the show and some very basic, bare-bones information about each. So I've created extremely preliminary entries for "Mongrel," "Soup," and "For Every Moment," now joining the slightly more fleshed-out but still preliminary "Ich bin Musik" there.

Thanks so much to Tobias Weber for sharing some interesting information, including his pointing out that I had neglected to list one additional officially released slightly different mix of "Positive Role Model" (released on the rare promo Five Titles from Closer to Heaven) in my "Mixes" list for that song. Oversight now rectified!

August 1, 2019

Thanks so much to Jane Morley for letting me know that Chris and Neil were seen in attendance at last night's performance of the revival of Closer to Heaven at London's Above the Stag Theatre. I've used this info to make an update to my "On This Day in Pet Shop Boys History" page, although of course it won't show up there until next year.

Incidentally, those of you who follow me on Facebook (where I hardly ever talk about the Pet Shop Boys since this website is my primary outlet for that) know that, effective today, I have retired from my full-time job as an instructional designer. A couple of people have suggested that this means I now have more time to devote to the Pet Shop Boys and this website. Actually, no, it doesn't. I already devote plenty of time to PSB and this site, and I don't plan on increasing that commitment. I have other things on my plate. In fact, there will probably be periods during the weeks and months ahead when I will be devoting less time than than usual. I will even, at some point a few months from now (though the precise timing is uncertain), need to put this site on a temporary hiatus—at least as far as making any updates are concerned—because my partner George and I plan on uprooting and moving several hundred miles away from our current location. That major household disruption will surely prevent me from doing any website work for at least a couple weeks, perhaps more. Of course, I'll keep you all well informed as that time approaches.

July 30, 2019

Thanks to two of my German site visitors, Jens Boldt and Dóra B, for sharing some observations about "Ich bin Musik," including the proper capitalization of such titles in German.

Thanks also to Rob Bainbridge for (1) letting me know about the brief appearance of "Domino Dancing" in a recent documentary about the British boxer Tyson Fury, which I've noted in the entry for that song at #35 in my list of Pet Shop Boys songs used in non-musical films and TV shows, and (2) noting that I had neglected to include "The Enigma" in my PSB song chronology, an oversight I've now rectified by citing there its April 2019 release on the Inner Sanctum DVD/Blu-ray/CD set. You see, although A Man from the Future received its live premiere in 2014 (and one part of it, "He Dreamed of Machines," had its live debut roughly two years before that), none of its component pieces had been "officially released" until the incorporation of part of "The Enigma" was released with recordings of the live Inner Sanctum set. To be honest, I do think this is a little iffy since I probably would never have recognized that segment of "The Enigma" in the Inner Sanctum show if it hadn't been formally announced and labeled as such. But it was, so there we go, iffi-ness notwithstanding. I prefer to err—if I'm erring at all—on the side of inclusivity rather than exclusivity.

July 29, 2019

Thanks to Nigel Brand for informing me of an interview with Frances Barber in The Guardian in which she provides a little more information (but only a little more) about the songs in Musik. I've therefore made a few corresponding updates.

July 28, 2019

I've posted the end results of my poll of the past two weeks, in which I asked my site visitors to pick their three favorite Pet Shop Boys songs of the "Bilingual era." My new survey for the next two weeks continues the "pick three" pattern, but with a very different focus this time around. One of my regular site visitors, Jonathan Cooper, will be DJing a 1970s, '80s, and '90s dance soon and is compiling a playlist of dance tracks for that gig. He wants to include three PSB songs that will be good for dancing, and he wants us to help him make his choices through our votes. But he wants to make sure they're familiar songs to most of his audience, so he's limiting the selections to singles of that period. To that end, I've listed all of the Boys' U.K. and/or U.S. singles of the eighties and nineties, from which we're asking you to pick the three that you think will be best for a dance party. Thanks, Jonathan, for this terrific poll suggestion—and I hope we prove a big help!

Incidentally, my recent batch of "album era" polls have proven very popular. So I'll probably have at least one or two more right after this new one—that is, assuming nothing much more pressing turns up in the "PSB universe" virtually demanding the attention of a timely survey!

Meanwhile, thanks to a regular site visitor who prefers to go by his online handle "londonnoise" for telling me about a recent linking to my website by the U.K. celebrity and media gossip mailing list Popbitch. I've now noted this on my "I've Been Cited!" page, and I've added londonnoise to my Thank You page.

Thanks also to Andy P for informing me of the latest novel (at least that I'm aware of) to mention the Pet Shop Boys: The Blood Road by the popular Scottish crime-thriller novelist Stuart MacBride. I've added it to my chronological list of such novels.

July 27, 2019

I've been cited on the Imperica website, which on July 19 expressed "marvel" at this site and, on the basis of my work here, proclaimed me "a fabulous madman." I'm honored. You can read what they have to say either here or on their website.

July 25, 2019

Having heard the brief excerpt of "Ich bin Musik" that debuted today on Steve Wright in the Afternoon, I've created a very preliminary entry for that new song from Musik.

July 24, 2019

Thanks to Jeff Bartini for telling me about a marvelous video tweet by a duo calling themselves Cassetteboy, who have taken "West End Girls" and cleverly mashed-in excerpts from speeches by outgoing U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May (though the WEG portion lasts for only about the first half). Very imaginative and quite entertaining!

I've noticed in some recent press releases that the title of the upcoming PSB/Jonathan Harvey production Musik is not spelled all-upper-case as I had originally thought based on some advance promo pieces, so I've gone through my website and replaced every instance of "MUSIK" with "Musik." I hope I caught them all! wink

Speaking of Musik, several people have written to me to tell me that its star, Frances Barber, will be a guest on tomorrow's edition of BBC Radio 2's Steven Wright in the Afternoon, during which she is scheduled to premiere one of the new songs that Neil and Chris have written for the show. I noticed that news online myself yesterday, but I appreciate you all letting me know, just in case. I won't be able to listen to it "live" myself, but I hope to be able to hear a recording of it after I get home from work tomorrow.

July 23, 2019

Word is spreading online—although I'm not yet aware of its original source—that the upcoming new Tennant-Lowe Musik Billie Trix stage show will include, among its brand new songs, a German-language number titled "Ich bin Musik" (meaning "I Am Music") and a concluding "big, joyful anthem." I've updated my entry for Musik with this still-tentative information. Thanks to porkchopkid for clueing me in on one of various second-hand sources of this news.

July 21, 2019

I've noted a new remake of "Rent" by the London synthpop-vocal duo Vaughty featuring Cherry Ballard on my page devoted to covers of Tennant-Lowe songs. With its strong "dark wave" vibe, it's pretty darn good if you ask me. If you would like to hear it, check it out on YouTube and elsewhere online.

Thanks to David dB for providing a number of corrections to my partial list of synths/samplers and other electronic gear used by the Pet Shop Boys. These corrections essentially necessitate the addition of "and other electronic gear" to the title of that list.

Thanks also to John M. for catching and reporting a typo, now corrected, in my list of the key signatures of selected PSB songs.

Well, it happened again: I had another of my dreams about the Pet Shop Boys last night. Actually, in this case, it was about just one of them, Chris, though it also featured some other pop stars as "guests." If you're interested in that sort of thing, I invite you to read about it.