What's New? – Recent Updates & Additions

December 17, 2017

I've posted the final results of my survey of the past week, in which I asked my site visitors to rate the four most recently released Pet Shop Boys tracks—at least those that hadn't previously been rated—on a scale of 0 to 10 as they compare to all other PSB songs. I've also updated my "Rating Project" page to reflect the newly added average ratings. I think it's worth noting that "The Dumpling Song" has finally dethroned "The Sound of the Atom Splitting" as the all-time lowest-rated PSB track.

This week's poll turns our attention to the long history of Pet Shop Boys music videos. One of my site visitors, porkchopkid, was wondering which one would be regarded by his fellow fans as the most "dated," or the one that has "aged" most poorly. Considering the large number of videos we have to work with, however, I've decided to extend that question a bit, allowing you to pick up to three of their videos that you believe have become most dated or have aged most badly. Thanks to porkchopkid for a most intriguing suggestion!

I've long noted that in some "official" occurrences of the title "The Truck-Driver and His Mate" (such as on its original release as a b-side of the "Before" single) it appears without the hyphen, while in other occurrences (such as on Format and the lyrics section of the official PSB website) it appears with the hyphen. I've long followed the original usage without the hyphen on this website, but I've now decided that, given those more recent (and persistent) instances, that original rendition must have been in error and the hyphen is "officially" preferred. So I've gone about trying to change all occurrences of that title here on my website accordingly. I hope I've caught them all, but if you happen to notice any I've missed, please let me know.

December 16, 2017

I've only just now realized that I hadn't included the component parts of A Man from the Future within my list of officially unreleased songs by the Pet Shop Boys. Since I don't count live performances as "release" for the purposes of that list, I've now rectified that oversight.

As a follow-up on my "editorial" day-before-yesterday (see just below), a friend of mine just shared a speculative horror-scenario about what may happen soon in the wake of the elimination of net neutrality. Imagine your ISP now implementing service "bundles," in which you have to pay more to do certain things online:

Personally, I doubt the internet powers-that-be will do this sort of thing overnight. They'll likely take their time about it, phase it in, lower the booms on us gradually, step by step, so as to minimize the public shock, outcry, and potential political and economic fallout. But—fair warning—it could well happen.

December 14, 2017

Forgive me, but I'm going to get a little political here for a moment—

I'm very concerned about the decision today by the FCC (the U.S. government's Federal Communications Commission)—which, under the current Republican administration, became the proverbial hen house guarded by the fox—to eliminate "net neutrality." Seventeen U.S. states (with possibly more to join in) have already filed lawsuits in federal court to try to prevent this from occurring. We'll see how that goes. But if the courts don't uphold net neutrality, it could have extremely serious consequences. While the effects would be most immediately felt in the United States, it could have dramatic effects around the world as well. More about that in a moment.

For me personally—setting aside the likely impact it would have on my internet usage in general, with higher costs and/or slower speeds—it could have drastic consequences for this, my website. My web hosting service, for instance, may inform me that I'll either have to pay a lot more to maintain this website at its current level of service or to resign myself to much slower service, with site visitors being forced to wait longer for pages to load, and with me having to wait much longer to upload updates. My internet service provider (which is different from my web hosting service) may similarly force me to choose between paying more to maintain the same level of service or to accept much slower access speeds. In short, I—and most other Americans in one way or another—would get hit coming and going.

If you live outside the States, you're not off the hook, either. Not only may you encounter those slower internet speeds from sites hosted in the United States, but certain currently free online services may be affected. For instance, YouTube may be forced to implement a "tiered service plan," in which you can continue watching free videos—only they stream much more slowly, with frequent interruptions—or you can pay for faster, less frequently interrupted service. And don't overlook the potential ripple effect. If costs go up in the States, it could very easily have unanticipated echoes around the world.

Now, would I be willing to pay more to maintain this website? Maybe, maybe not. It all depends on how much more I might be forced to pay. But I'm not going to start charging for it. I'd rather quit. We'll just have to cross that bridge if and when we get to it.

End of editorial. All we can do now is wait and see what happens.

December 13, 2017

Although it has nothing whatsoever to do with the Pet Shop Boys, I'm thoroughly delighted that one of my other favorite artists, the Moody Blues, have finally, after nearly 30 years of eligibility, been elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And I'm pleased that one of the bands in my "second tier," the Cars, also made it this time around. PSB fans may find of particular interest, however, that the late Nina Simone—an artist whom Neil once described as "probably one of [his] three favourite singers" and with whom both he and Chris would very much have liked to work—also received the same honor today.

December 11, 2017

Thanks to David B. for alerting me to the fact that on the Pet Shop Boys' official website the indecipherable "lyrics" (as it were) for "Nyet" that I mentioned here a couple days ago (see December 9, below) have now vanished. I strongly suspect a correction will soon appear in their place. Stay tuned!

December 10, 2017

I've posted the final results of last week's poll, in which I asked whether you believe Chris spells out the title of "Happiness" the second time that occurs in the song. The majority of voters indicated that they did not believe this to be the case. And, as it turns out, the majority is correct! This past Wednesday I heard from my very trustworthy source from within the PSB organization, who verified that Chris does not do any of the spelling in "Happiness"—that it's always Neil's voice throughout, at times digitally processed. For the record, I've now made note of this fact in one of the annotations to my main commentary on the song.

My new survey for the week ahead is the latest iteration of my ongoing "Rating Project," in which I ask my site visitors to rate songs by the Pet Shop Boys on a scale of 0 to 10 as they compare to each other (not with tracks by other artists), with 0 meaning "one of the worst they've ever recorded," 5 meaning "average for PSB," and 10 meaning "one of the very best they've ever recorded." Only four songs are up for rating this time around: the four previously unrated songs released recently with the reissues of Yes and Elysium. Please note, however, that I'm not asking you to rate the three PSB ringtones ("Answer the Phone," "Water," and "Where Are You?"); their great brevity and essential "non-song" status makes it rather silly, at least in my estimation, to put them up against other Pet Shop Boys tracks. (I actually often find myself regretting at ever having asked my site visitors to rate other such tracks—namely "Generic Jingle" and "Opportunities (Reprise)"—but what's done is done.)

December 9, 2017

Please note that, on account of another commitment, I will likely be quite a bit later than usual—probably by at least an hour and perhaps as much as two or more—in making my usual "switch" from my current poll to a new one for the week ahead. I hope this doesn't cause you any inconvenience.

SPOILER ALERT! – Fans have begun receiving the Pet Shop Boys' 2017 Christmas e-card. If you haven't received it yet but expect to, you probably won't want to visit my page devoted to the Boys' Christmas cards, which I've now updated to include the new one.

I've recently noticed something on the Pet Shop Boys' official website that I find absolutely remarkable—and, if I may add, virtually inexplicable. It's the lyrics printed there of the track "Nyet" from Battleship Potemkin. Are you seeing there what I'm seeing? –

нет! нет! нет! нет!
да! да! да! да!
нет! нет! нет! нет!
да! да! да! да!

Now, here's what I believe is going on – This is actually supposed to be appearing in the Russian Cyrillic alphabet but, on account of some glitch, it's not doing so. That's what I find virtually inexplicable: why haven't the Boys' site designers addressed this? Could it be that, on their side, they're not seeing what I'm seeing? Are they seeing Cyrillic, but I'm not? For that matter, could it be that you're seeing it in the Cyrillic alphabet?

Update – It gets curiouser and curiouser. Several of my regular site visitors have written to me to note that they, too, are seeing that incomprehensible jumble of characters. John M thought to enter it into Google Translate, Russian to English, which translates it as:

Thank you,! Thank you,! Thank you,! Thank you,!
Come on! Come on! Come on! Come on!
Thank you,! Thank you,! Thank you,! Thank you,!
Come on! Come on! Come on! Come on!

John also shared with me the Cyrillic transcription that Google Translate delivers when you take that English text and translate it back to Russian. Other site visitors pointed out that if you translate it into a number of other languages, you get something different. Regardless, when I actually listen to "Nyet," the only words that I hear are the repeated exclamations "Da!" (Russian for "Yes!") and "Nyet!" ("No!"). I seriously doubt that "Thank you!" and "Come on!" are acceptable alternate translations of "Da!" and "Nyet!" At any rate, thanks, John, even if what you've found only deepens the mystery. And thanks also to those others of you who have also written to me about all this.

December 8, 2017

Thanks to Rory Simpson for letting me know that "In the Night" was briefly used during this past Wednesday's episode of the U.K. TV show The Apprentice: You're Fired! I've made note of this fact in the entry for the song at #2 in my list of Pet Shop Boys songs that can be heard in "non-musical" films and television shows.

December 6, 2017

I had previously noted that I couldn't discern the backup vocals by Rufus Wainwright in the song "Wiedersehen," but today, after listening to the track again at high volume—and after the prompting of a site visitor—I could indeed make out his distinct harmonies. So I've revised what I have to say on this subject in my commentary on that song. And thanks to the anonymous visitor who inspired this update!

December 4, 2017

A bit of miscommunication resulted in an error with regard to David B's input yesterday (see below) on the release of "Did You See Me Coming?" and "Vulnerable" in March 2009 slightly before the album Yes. As it turns out, both songs were indeed released as a digital bundle as part of the "Love etc." single. I've now made the necessary adjustments to my "PSB Song Chronology." Thanks for the clarification, David!

December 3, 2017

I've posted the final results of my survey of the past week, the culmination of my month-long series on Pet Shop Boys songs that they have never performed live in concert but which you would most like for them to add to an upcoming concert setlist.

Now I'm ready—to borrow a famous phrase from Monty Python—for something completely different. This week's poll is quite unusual for this website. You see, ordinarily I ask your opinion about something that has no "right" or "wrong" answer. It's not objective truth we're after, but rather expressions of collective subjective viewpoints. But there is an objective truth at the root of this week's question. We just don't know for sure what that truth is. And that's where you come in. I'm asking whether you think it's Chris (as opposed to a digitally modified Neil) who provides the second spelling-out of H-A-P-P-I-N-E-S-S near the start of the song "Happiness." There's no doubt it's Neil who does the spelling the first time and (if I'm not mistaken) all the other spellings of the title. But it's specifically that second one we're wondering about. By "we" I'm including regular site visitor Gavin, who recently asked me what I thought about it. Gavin believes that it is indeed Chris, but the possibilty had never occurred to me, and I haven't seen anything from the Boys indicating one way or the other. So I figured it would be a good question to ask all of you. Besides, with only few choices at your disposal, it's a nice break from my usual surveys (especially of late), with so many options. So what do you think? I'm eager to find out. In the meantime, thanks a bunch to Gavin for inspiring this survey!

Incidentally, in case you're wondering whether I think that's Chris's voice uttering the second spelling of H-A-P-P-I-N-E-S-S, I'm going to hold off on revealing my opinion until the end of this poll.

Input from site visitors allows me to continue fine-tuning my "PSB Song Chronology." This time it's David B, who has alerted me to the strong likelihood that "Did You See Me Coming?" and "Vulnerable" were not first released in February 2009 as part of a special iTunes digital bundle with the "Love etc." single, but rather first appeared the following month on their parent album, Yes. Although I had obtained that information about their earlier release from another Pet Shop Boys fansite, I've so far been unable to confirm it anywhere else, while I have found apparent refutation on other sites. So I'm going to err (if I'm erring at all) on the side of caution and move those two songs as well as the "Love etc." single and its b-sides to March 2009. Thanks, David!

Also, without any outside prompting, I've made another adjustment to the song chronology, but about which I'm actually somewhat reluctant and of two minds. As I understand it, "Go West" (the PSB rendition, of course) and "Forever in Love" first appeared in December 1992 as a limited-edition holiday promo, though it was quickly withdrawn. So I suppose it's technically more accurate to list them in the chronology at that earlier time as opposed to September 1993 with the releases of the final and more familiar "Go West" single (with its b-side "Shameless") and, with regard to "Forever in Love," Relentless. I may, however, change my mind about this revision; as I said, I'm of two minds about it.

One other thing – I've been asked when I will be running my next "Rating Project" survey to allow you all to rate the previously unrated songs released with the recent reissues of Yes and Elysium. As it turns out, I'm currently planning on running that poll next week—although, as always, I reserve the right to change my mind about that depending on personal preferences and events within the wider "PSB universe."

December 2, 2017

While re-reading a portion of Chris Heath's 1990 book Pet Shop Boys, Literally, I noticed something that has inspired me to add a new concluding paragraph to my commentary on "The Patience of a Saint."

Meanwhile, in our email exchange yesterday (see just below), Sveto observed that "Reunion" and "One-Way Street" were released as digital downloads in advance of the reissues of Release and Fundamental, respectively. As it turns out, "Reunion" received this treatment the month before, in June 2017, so I've decided that it merits its own separate entry on my "PSB Song Chronology" page. But since "One-Way Street" made its advance digital appearance in the same month as the reissues, in July 2017, I'll simply keep it alongside the other newly released tracks on its Further Listening disc. Once more, Sveto earns my gratitude.

December 1, 2017

Thanks again to Sveto for noting that the Pet Shop Boys' rendition of "Losing My Mind" was first released in May 1991 as the b-side of the "Jealousy" single. I've updated my "PSB Song Chronology" accordingly. (Please note that the earlier PSB production of "Losing My Mind" for Liza Minnelli doesn't count for the purposes of that list.)

November 30, 2017

It's getting to be a habit for me to be thanking Sveto for corrections to my "Pet Shop Boys Song Chronology" page. Today he reminded me that their collaboration with Robbie Williams on "She's Madonna" was first released on Robbie's album Rudebox in October 2006, several months earlier than its subsequent release as a single. Naturally, I've made the appropriate update. Thanks again, Sveto! And thanks as well to Daniel Björck for noticing that I had somehow neglected to include "Undertow" (now added) but, by contrast, had listed "Inner Sanctum" twice (duplication now removed). Someday—I hope in the near future—this new feature of mine will finally be perfect. wink

November 29, 2017

Thanks once again to Sveto for another correction to my "Pet Shop Boys Song Chronology," this time pointing out that "Psychological" first saw the official light of day as a promo instrumental released on 12-inch vinyl in December 2005, several months ahead of its parent album, Fundamental, and even the album's first single, "I'm with Stupid." The fact that it was only an instrumental actually caused me a bit of hesitation in making this update, but I believe I'm left with little choice in the matter.

November 28, 2017

I'm grateful to a few more site visitors for suggesting corrections to my "PSB Song Chronology" page. First, thanks to Rob Bainbridge for reminding me that the Tennant-Lowe song "Falling" was first released by Kylie Minogue in September 1994, well before the Pet Shop Boys released their demo of the song with the 2001 reissue of Very. Thanks as well to Sveto for a number of corrections (including a typo, now fixed), mostly concerning the extremely rare promo Five Titles from Closer to Heaven from April 2001 (a month earlier than the similarly titled and far more common Songs from the Musical Closer to Heaven) and some February 2009 advance digital releases from the Yes album as part of the "Love etc." single's digital bundle. He also pointed out that I had neglected to include "Believe/Song for Guy" on my "Albums and Songs" page. Although I have my own perhaps convoluted reasons for purposefully not listing on that page every single song covered on this website, that particular track doesn't meet my exclusionary criteria, so I've now added it. Thanks again to the both of you. I've said it before and I'll say it again: this website would be far, far less accurate and authoritative—at least to the extent that it's "authoritative" at all—without the invaluable input of my site visitors!

November 27, 2017

As I continue to fine-tune my new "Pet Shop Boys Song Chronology" section, I was reminded today (while researching another matter altogether) that "Happiness" is another of those tracks that served as an advance "album taster" and could be digitally downloaded a bit ahead of its parent album, Super. And I also remembered that the Boys' collaboration with Panti Bliss, "Oppressive (The Best Gay Possible)," was released as a digital download in March 2014. So I've made the appropriate updates.

November 26, 2017

I've posted the final results of last week's poll, in which I asked my site visitors to pick, from songs that the Pet Shop Boys released during the period 2002–2007 but have never performed live, the ones (up to five of them) they would most like them to perform live. My new survey for the week ahead is (at last) the concluding chapter of this month-long series, but I'm not asking about the period 2008 to the present, which I believe is too recent for this question. Rather, I'm doing something very cruel, though I don't feel guilty about it since I'm subjecting myself to the same cruelty. I'm having a "run-off," collecting the top vote-getters from the previous three polls and asking you to narrow them down to the final "Top 3." That's right: of the songs that placed in the "Top 5" of each of these surveys—16 in all since there was a tie for fifth place one week—which three would you most like the Boys to perform live in concert at some point? Now, you might think the outcome would be obvious, with the #1 songs in each of these three polls ending up in these final Top 3 slots. That may well turn out to be the case, but not necessarily. After all, there will be a lot of voters whose choices in the previous polls didn't make the cut, so their votes will go elsewhere. I'm very, very eager to see how this turns out, and I hope you are, too! And I promise this will be the end of this particular survey thread, so to speak. Next week will bring something completely different!

In the meantime, thanks so much to David B. for alerting me to some oversights in my "PSB Song Chronology" related to the advance digital releases of several latter-day tracks, specifically "Together," "Invisible," "Winner," "Inner Sanctum," and "The Pop Kids." Corrections now made!

I'm delighted that late yesterday the Flag Counter routine on my home page recorded what is apparently my first-ever site visitor located in Vatican City. Of course, some of you may wonder why it took this long. wink Whatever the case, I extend a very warm welcome to my new Vatican Citizen visitor! Hmmm – I wonder whether the Holy Father might be a Pet Shop Boys fan. After all, they are awfully popular in Latin America, including his native Argentina. wink

Finally, last night I had another one of my "PSB dreams," but I'm afraid this time I don't remember anything about it aside from the facts that it did indeed involve the Pet Shop Boys and had something to do with the board game Monopoly. Since there's nothing else I can say about it, I won't be noting it on that page.

November 24, 2017

Thanks so much to Edwin Green for pointing out an oversight I had made on my new "PSB Song Chronology" page: the release in May 1986 of "Was That What It Was?" as the b-side of the second single release of "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)." And shortly after I made the necessary update, I noticed on my own that I had somehow also neglected to include the first release of "Sexy Northerner" in March 2002 as one of the bonus tracks with the "Home and Dry" single—despite my distinctly remembering not to list it along with the previously unreleased tracks on Disco 3 because, after all, it had been previously released. I've made that correction as well.

I've discovered a magazine cover from 1988—one I had never seen before—that earns a spot among my ten favorite Pet Shop Boys magazine covers. I've placed it at the very end of that list, at the bottom of the page, because I frankly have very mixed feelings about it: part of me loves it, but part of me kinda hates it, too. But those mixed emotions are why I've added it to the list: mixed emotions are almost always more interesting than unmixed ones.

November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans and anyone else who observes the occasion on this day.

While we're on the subject of thanks, I extend my gratitude to Andrew Shaw for reminding me that I had already noted, in my entry for "A Powerful Friend," the "lascivious innuendos" of certain lines in that song, but had neglected to include it in my list of Pet Shop Boys titles and lyrics that are (or may be) sly innuendos. I've now rectified that oversight by adding that song at #18 in the list. Thanks, Andrew!

November 21, 2017

As we enter the holiday season, it's only natural that I should find myself thanking Steve N. for pointing out that "Joseph, Better You Than Me" merits a place in my list of Pet Shop Boys songs that contain biblical allusions, even if only as a "questionable" case mentioned at the end since it's not actually a full-fledged "Pet Shop Boys song." Thanks again, Steve!

November 20, 2017

Thanks to Jeff Bartini for pointing out that a particular line in "Do I Have To?" may be a slight innuendo (or at least might be viewed as one), so I've added it at #17 in that particular list.

And I'm truly grateful to those of you who have already shared expressions of encouragement and support in the wake of my near meltdown arising from the stupid mistake I made yesterday with regard to "Fugitive" and my current poll. As one of them said, I'm sometimes too hard on myself. I do feel better now. Thanks!

November 19, 2017

I've posted the final results of this past week's survey, in which I asked my site visitors to pick, from songs that the Pet Shop Boys released during the period 1996–2001 but have never performed live, the ones (up to five of them) they would most like them to perform live.

I'm intrigued by the fact that last week's poll had more than a hundred fewer voters than the week before, which asked that same question about the period 1985–1995. Is it because more people are interested in those earlier songs than more recent ones, or because potential voters are turned off by two similar questions in a row? I certainly hope not the latter since I'm doing it one more time. This week's poll is the third—and probably the last—in this series. I'd like for you to make that same choice of up to five songs that the Boys haven't yet performed live in concert, only this time from those released 2002–2007. (Please note, as I've stated in a footnote to the poll, I erroneously included "Fugitive" among the choices, even though the Boys have performed it in concert. I've removed it from the choices, and I'm offering those of you who had voted for it an opportunity to submit an alternate selection, which I invite you to do so via email or the "Comments" feature on the "Current Results" page. In the meantime, I sincerely apologize for this careless and very embarrassing mistake.

As for what's coming after that, I don't plan on asking this same question about songs released after 2007 because I think it's too soon to do so. Instead I have something special in mind. But we'll cross that particular bridge when we get to it.

Meanwhile, thanks to dedicated Russian PSB fan Dmitry M. for letting me know about his own fansite "Unofficial Pet Shop Boys Partnership." It has apparently been around for nearly 20 years, but I've only now learned about it. I've posted a link to it on my PSB Links page.

Thanks also to Raymond for reporting a typo, now corrected, in my new "PSB Song Chronology" feature.

November 18, 2017

From time to time I find myself wishing there were a single webpage where I could see, all in one spot, a list of every Pet Shop Boys song arranged chronologically by when it was released. Failing to find such a thing, I've decided to create and post it myself. Therefore I introduce to you a brand new page in my "Extras" section: "PSB Song Chronology." Now, considering its objective and scope, I have no illusions about it being absolutely flawless in this, its first go-round. At least at this early juncture, it almost certainly has some mistakes and, even more likely, oversights. So I welcome any input you may offer for corrections. (For instance, I've already made one correction on the month and year of the first release of "Sail Away"—thanks, Martijn!) But please note certain caveats:

I hope you find this new page interesting and perhaps even useful.