What's New? – Recent Updates & Additions

April 22, 2018

I've posted the final results of this past week's survey, in which I asked my site visitors to indicate which of my least favorite tracks from the Pet Shop Boys' albums happened to be their own favorites from those albums. As promised—or as threatened, depending on how much or how little you care for these particular questions—this week's poll is the inverse follow-up, which flips last week's question around in the other direction. In other words, this time I'm wondering which of my favorite songs from the Boys' albums are your least favorites.

By the way, getting back to last week's results for a moment, I had stated one week ago, "If I were a betting man—which I'm not, but if I were—I'm 99% sure what the top vote-getter will turn out to be. Let's see if I'm right!" Well, as it turns out, I was wrong. Although a plurality of voters indicated that none of my least favorites were there favorites (which I figured would be the case), that's not what I was referring to when I said that. Instead, I was thinking that the track that would receive the most votes would be "Always on My Mind/In My House." As it so happens, however, "Try It (I'm in Love with a Married Man)" actually received more votes. That's one of the things I love about doing maintaining this webiste: my fellow fans never cease to surprise me!

April 21, 2018

Thanks to Rory Simpson for letting me know that "It's a Sin" was played during a segment of Thursday's edition of the U.K. TV show This Week. I've noted this in the entry for that song at #21 in my list of Pet Shop Boys songs used in non-musical films and television shows.

On my page that lists remakes of PSB songs I've now cited a new cover of "West End Girls" by the one-man "punk/oi!" band Fwuffy Da Destwoyah. If you wish to hear this aural assault for yourself, it's available on YouTube and a few other spots online. No, it's not much to my liking but, as the old saying goes, if we all liked the same things, it would be a dull world. And whatever else you might say about this particular rendition of the song, it's not dull. That and it's not the more clichéd choice for receiving such treatment, the aforementioned "It's a Sin."

April 19, 2018

Thanks to Steve N. for sharing some additional information with me about the 2006 London production of Martin Sherman's play Bent, for which Chris Lowe wrote new music for the song "Streets of Berlin." To my entry for that song I've simply added the site of the production, Trafalgar Studios in London. Thanks again, Steve!

In case you're wondering, still no sign of my copy of Annually 2018. But based on what I've been reading about it online, I'm by no means the only fan who hasn't received it yet. I'm sorry, but in this day and age, such incredibly slow delivery now 2½ weeks after its publication and alleged shipment—yes, even "standard" delivery, without having to pay a great deal more for expedited service—seems unconscionable.

April 15, 2018

I've posted the final results of my poll of the past week, in which I asked my site visitors to name their favorite "post-millennial" Pet Shop Boys album—that is, from among those released since 2000. My new survey for the week ahead is the first of two parts. In this first part, I've listed my least favorite song from each PSB album (including the "Tennant-Lowe" releases but not counting hits compilations, live sets, and first two Disco albums, and one or two other anomalies), and I'm asking you to indicate which ones happen to be your own favorite song from that album. (Of course, there's the standard "none of the above" option for questions of this sort.) If you're wondering what "Part 2" will be, it's the exact opposite: seeing which of my favorites are your own least favorites. But that's for a week from now (though I reserve the right to postpone it if something much more pressing and timely suddenly emerges in the "PSB world"). In the meantime, I'm eager to see the outcome of this first question. If I were a betting man—which I'm not, but if I were—I'm 99% sure what the top vote-getter will turn out to be. Let's see if I'm right!

By the way, I'm still waiting for my copy of Annually 2018 to arrive. Hopefully sometime this week—

April 13, 2018

Thanks to Eke Webb for letting me know that Tracey Thorn has affirmed that another of the songs (in this case, "Dancefloor") from her recent album Record definitely bears a PSB influence. So I've added it to my list of specific songs by well-known artists avowedly influenced by the Pet Shop Boys. If you're interested, here's the source of that attribution.

April 10, 2018

Although it doesn't really "fit" anywhere on my website on a long-term basis, I should mention here a delightful PSB "name-drop" that occurred on U.S. television last night, brought to my attention by regular site visitor Alan D. On last night's edition (Monday, April 9) of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, rap/hip hop star Cardi B and comedian John Mulaney (neither of whom, to be honest, I'd never heard of until now) were exchanging pleasantries on Fallon's guest-couch when Cardi suddenly said to Mulaney, "You look British," then adding a few seconds later, "Like the Pet Shop Boys," which drew a laugh from Mulaney and Fallon. (Mulaney does bear a passing—but only passing—resemblance to a young Neil Tennant.) I know it's not much, but Alan and I both find it rather gratifying that Cardi B, who wasn't even born until several years after the Pet Shop Boys had enjoyed their final U.S. Top 40 hit, would be familiar with our musical heroes. Perhaps it goes to show that they're still well known in the U.S. hip hop community, or at least among hip hop artists. Maybe she's even a fellow fan. Whatever the case, thanks so much, Alan!

April 8, 2018

I've posted the final results of last week's survey, in which I asked my site visitors several questions with regard to Pet Shop Boys tribute bands. This week's poll is conceptually much, much simpler—though that doesn't necessarily mean it will prove much easier for you to respond to. In the past, when I've asked my site visitors about their favorite PSB albums in general, the votes have leaned heavily toward those released during the first half of their career, and especially toward the first decade. But what if we remove those earlier albums from consideration? What happens when votes that would ordinarily have gone toward earlier albums are "diverted" to later albums? So this week I'm asking you to pick your favorite post-millennial PSB studio album. In other words, if you could choose only from those released since the year 2000, which one would you pick? Thanks so much to Miney and to Peter Sylvén—the latter whose name I've now added to my Thank You page—both of whom independently suggested this intriguing question!

In case you're interested, on a subject completely unrelated to PSB – Last week I bought the The Junction, the brand new album by The Manhattan Transfer, who are not only one of my other favorite artists but also a group I've been very fond of since before there even was a "Pet Shop Boys." It's their first studio album in nine years as well as the first since the death in 2014 of founder Tim Hauser, for whom new member Trist Curless now substitutes. (I won't say "replaces" since Hauser is irreplaceable.) At any rate, while I can't say it's a "great" album, it really is a good one. To be honest, it's much better than I had expected at this late stage of their career. And it does have several truly great tracks, proving that, after all these years—more than forty since their debut album—these people can still swing their asses off when they put their minds to it. The first two numbers are particular pleasures: "Cantaloop (Flip Out!)," a vocalese take on a jazz/hip-hop fusion piece based on a Herbie Hancock sample, and the MT original "Swing Balboa (Down on Riverside)." If you want to hear some outstanding jazz-pop vocals, click on the links I've provided there to those tracks on YouTube. They may not be to everyone's stylistic liking, but there's no denying the prodigious talents at work. If you're much like me, that second song just might get you up and dancing in the middle of your living room floor.

April 7, 2018

I'm glad to see that, after having been "down" for a few hours, as scheduled, for general maintenance by my webhost, my website is now back up and running. That sort of thing always scares me a little—you never can tell when something may go really wrong, yet there's nothing you can do about it—so that's a load off my mind. happy

April 6, 2018

Reminder of possible "outage":  Again, my web-hosting service reports that they will be performing general maintenance between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. Eastern (U.S.) Time Saturday, April 7. This may mean that my website will be "down" during that period, which translates (offering just three examples) as from 10 p.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday in Los Angeles, from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Saturday in London, and (if I'm not mistaken) from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday in Sydney, Australia. Please consider your own time zone accordingly. So if my site is unavailable during this period—and possibly for a while afterward if something goes awry with the procedure—that's why. Although it's completely beyond my control, I do apologize for any inconvenience.

April 5, 2018

Thanks to mikettunen for providing additional information (and supporting documentation) that clarifies some points—while simultaneously muddying up others—about the relationship between "It Couldn't Happen Here" and the Ennio Morricone music upon which it's partly based, which subsequently also evolved into the song "Forecast" recorded by the French band Blizzard. I've used this info both to modify the final paragraph of my main entry for "It Could Happen Here" and to provide a qualifying note about it in the mini-entry for that song in my list of Pet Shop Boys songs avowedly influenced by tracks by other artists. Given this admittedly murky situation, I wouldn't be surprised if this is not the end of it.

April 3, 2018

The 2018 edition of the Pet Shop Boys' fan publication Annually was released yesterday. Some of you—specifically those of you living in the U.K.—may have already received your copy by the time you read this, or will shortly. But I know from past experience that we fans in the States (as well as in many other countries) who have ordered it won't be getting our copies for several days yet, and probably not even for more than a week. In fact, I received an email today from PetShopBoysShop.co.uk telling me that here in the U.S. we should expect it in "approximately 10-14 working days." Yes, working days! That means it could take as much as three weeks! Grrrr…. So, in short, I would tremendously appreciate your not sending me any "spoilers" about it until I've received my own copy. At that time I'll undoubtedly be making some site updates based on material gleaned from it. I'll of course make note of any such updates here when the time comes. Until then, I thank you all for your understanding!

April 1, 2018

Happy Easter to all of you who observe the holiday! And it's no April Fool's joke that 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 three sexiest Pet Shop Boys videos. My new survey for the week ahead is actually several questions rolled into one, all having to do with PSB tribute bands—that is, performers who largely if not entirely devote their musical energies to paying homage to another particular act, in this case the Pet Shop Boys, performing their songs and/or in their style.* Thanks so much to porkchopkid for suggesting this intriguing topic!

*Tribute bands can take a variety of approaches. Some perform the songs of their "target" act and do so looking and/or sounding as much like them as they can. Others perform only songs by that artist, but make no particular effort to look and/or sound like them, often taking those songs in an entirely "new" direction. Some tribute bands take the exact opposite approach, looking and/or sounding as much as possible like the artist to whom they're paying homage, but doing so with other songs altogether—covers of other artists' songs or even their own originals. And, of course, there may be a mix of all these different approaches.

Speaking of tribute bands, in my immediately preceding entry (March 30, below) I mentioned the 2017 cover of "Heart" by the Spanish Scorpions tribute band Stingers. I've now found the complete track on Spotify as part of the album Transition. You will need to log in to Spotify, however, in order to hear it—assuming, of course, that you're actually interested in hearing the Pet Shop Boys covered in the style of the Scorpions. I was certainly interested, but that sort of thing fascinates the heck out of me. Hey, I am a music nerd, after all.

To my pre-existing entry for "DJ Culture" at #12 in my list of PSB songs that contain literary allusions I've added a new observation about the way in which one line from that song echoes text from Graham Greene's 1940 novel The Power and the Glory.

Heads-up:  I've been informed by my web-hosting service that they will be performing general "maintenance" between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. Eastern (U.S.) Time this coming Saturday, April 7. This very likely means that my website will be "down" during that period. They tell me that they chose those hours "in order to keep disruptions to a minimum," but that's of course from an eastern U.S. perspective; it would be quite disruptive to other parts of the world. I suppose it's unavoidable. At any rate, if you find that my site is unavailable for a few hours late this coming week, that's almost certainly why. I'll try to remember to post a reminder here as that day approaches.

March 30, 2018

Thanks to Andrew Shaw for suggesting that I elaborate a bit within my main entry for "It Couldn't Happen Here" on the information I provided the other day (see March 27 below) regarding the Ennio Morricone song "Forecast." I've now done precisely that.

To my page that lists remakes of Tennant-Lowe songs I've added a cover of "Heart" by the Spanish metal band Stingers, which appears on their 2017 album Transition. I haven't yet been able to find a recording of their version in its entirety online, but you can hear a very brief excerpt on YouTube. If I do later learn of an online posting of the complete track, I'll be sure to provide a link to it here. As a sidenote, let me just say that I'm as pleased as can be when a metal band decides to record any Pet Shop Boys song other than "It's a Sin." wink

March 28, 2018

Regular site visitor Paul Atkin (thanks so much!) had told me about a cover of "Love Comes Quickly" that appeared to have been retitled "Born in Aichi" and posted on SoundCloud. I couldn't determine the name of the performer, however, and asked for help here about that. Mika Hagman was sharp enough to observe that it was already listed on my Pet Shop Boys covers page: Hidemi Ishikawa's rendition, where I note that it's quite possibly the first-ever remake of a Tennant-Lowe song. Thanks so much, Mika, for noticing something that had escaped my attention!

March 27, 2018

I've added "It Couldn't Happen Here" to my list of Pet Shop Boys songs that have been avowedly influenced by specific tracks by other artists. The song in question by another artist is "Forecast" by Ennio Morricone, with vocals by the French band Blizzard. If you would like to hear it, you may do so on YouTube. Pay special attention to the chorus, starting at about 1:12; you'll surely recognize the melody. Thanks so much to mikettunen (whom I've just added to my Thank You page) for bringing this particular song and link to my attention!

March 26, 2018

I'm back from vacation (or as my British friends say, "holiday"), but I'm up to my eyeballs in backlogged email and other assorted demands on my time (both related and unrelated to this website) now that I've returned. I expect to be able to reply to most if not all of the emails I've receieved within the next 24 hours. In the meantime, thank you for your patience. And I have made one quick site update, adding two new PSB Tour dates based on info recently published by the Pet Shop Boys' official website. I expect to be making more updates tomorrow or soon after, once things have setting down a bit for me.