Most recent updates: July 25, 2017

My Current Biweekly PSB Survey
According to Wikipedia, "cognitive dissonance" is the mental discomfort experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. I can imagine certain albums causing something akin to cognitive dissonance if the album is tremendously unlike what the listener was expecting, either because:
  • its style is so much unlike anything else that the artist has done,
  • its singles and/or "leaked" tracks are very different from the rest of the album, or
  • it strikes the listener as quite different from what he or she had previously read or heard about the album and/or the artist who created it.

In light of this, to the best of your recollection—

Which Pet Shop Boys album, if any, caused you—or perhaps still causes you—the greatest "cognitive dissonance" or something like it? Or, to put it another way, which PSB album is the most unlike what you would have expected from them?

Note: For the purposes of this poll, I'm including every major album release that has a "significant PSB connection," so to speak, including every Disco album, the hits and b-sides collections, the live albums, and the Tennant-Lowe "special projects" Closer to Heaven, Battleship Potemkin, and The Most Incredible Thing. I'm even including the still unreleased (and, according to the Boys, still "under development") A Man from the Future since it has, at least in its original form, been widely heard by many if not most of my site visitors. I'm not, however, including Liza Minnelli's Results and Dusty Springfield's Reputation; although they were produced or co-produced (and largely composed) by PSB, they are both nevertheless another major artist's albums.

Please PopArt
Disco Battleship Potemkin
Actually Fundamental
Introspective Concrete
Behaviour Disco 4
Discography Yes
Very Pandemonium
Relentless Ultimate
Disco 2 The Most Incredible Thing
Alternative Format
Bilingual Elysium
Nightlife Electric
Closer to Heaven Super
Release A Man from the Future*
Disco 3   *Please see the note just below the poll question.

"I can honestly say that no PSB album has caused me anything like 'cognitive dissonance.'"
Current Results            My Current Biweekly PSB Survey

What This Website Is All About

This website has no "official" connection to the Pet Shop Boys. It merely presents my own personal commentary—often including attempted explanations and interpretations—on the songs of my favorite contemporary pop band. Of course, this commentary has often been influenced by what the Pet Shop Boys themselves, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, have said about their music and by what others have previously written. Nevertheless, many of the observations I make here are original with me.

By no means am I suggesting that these are the "only" or "correct" interpretations. In fact, it's typical of great art, even great pop art, to lend itself to multiple interpretations. And I do consider the Pet Shop Boys to be the creators of great pop art. So you can take or leave my interpretations as you wish. If you disagree, please don't take offense. Rather, enjoy the fact that we're both fans of music rich enough to invite different interpretations.

Despite my best efforts, I have no doubt that I'm guilty of at least some factual errors. I recognize this fact and apologize in advance for any that may have slipped past me. I'll certainly correct any errors that come to my attention.


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This site was originally posted on March 16, 2001, and was most recently revised on July 25, 2017.

Honored by Yahoo! as a "Pick of the Week" (April 9, 2001)
and a "2001 Pick of the Year" (December 31, 2001)

Rock on the Wild SideWayne StuderWayne Studer is the author of Rock on the Wild Side (1994: Leyland Publications).



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