Tag Archives: Pet Shop Boys

2012 ➤ Pet Shop Boys show today’s pop pretenders the view from atop Mount Olympus

❚ THE NEW ALBUM ELYSIUM from the Pet Shop Boys this week entered the UK album chart at number 9. Curiously, it is being greeted with mixed reviews from younger critics, which is a shame for a creative duo widely regarded as a national treasure. Andy Polaris, lead singer with Animal Nightlife who provided a soundtrack to UK clubbing during the golden age of 80s pop, has offered to redress the balance with this review for Shapersofthe80s …

Pet Shop Boys , London Olympics, Elysium, album, pop music,video

London Olympics closing ceremony, August 12: The Pet Shop Boys sing West End Girls from rickshaws. Their orange pointy masks were said to depict the London rush hour. (Photo: Reuters/ Phil Noble). Click pic to view video of PSBs talking on BBC Breakfast

❏ Andy writes:
The Pet Shop Boys were part of the UK music explosion of the 80s which saw the British invasion of the US and much other global success. Today, along with Yazoo and The Eurythmics, they are the last of the electronic duos from the 80s who are still intact and flourishing.

The passage of time is a recurring theme in their eleventh album, produced by Andrew Dawson who worked on three successful Kanye West albums. Despite their last few albums as recent as Yes in 2010 receiving Grammy nominations (how many of their 80s contemporaries can say that?), if you’re not constantly on heavy airplay rotation or in rehab people assume you’re dead or retired. The perennial problem is: Are your best years behind you? How relevant are you in the current pop climate?

You’ve been around but you don’t look too rough/ And I still quite like some of your early stuff.” The lyric to Your Early Stuff wittily captures frequent comments from cab drivers and others when confronted with these pop icons. They need not have worried, having popped up twice during the Olympics, at the closing ceremony, riding origami rickshaws, and again last week performing outside Buckingham Palace their new song Winner (from Elysium), along with West End Girl and Go West. This had the Olympic champions and contestants swaying and singing along with the crowd.

Pet Shop Boys , album, Elysium, Invisible,

Video grab from Invisible: “Am I tragic or a joke/ Wrapped in my invisibility cloak?”

The PSBs have a vast, enviable back catalogue of melodic hits but are still producing catchy electronic pop and Elysium contains some trademark mixes of — dare I say it? — their early stuff. Uptempo dance pop with strong choruses include the opening track Leaving, Requiem In Denim and Leopardskin, A Face Like That (no doubt with remixes already in the works), plus Radio 2-friendly songs like Hold On, Memory of A Future, Give It A Go and Winner, which all show off their knack with a melody. On the sombre, reflective ballads Breathing Space and Invisible, remorse never sounded so good.

Finally, never taking themselves too seriously, we have the brilliant, arch Ego Music which owes more to their influences, Sparks and Yellow Magic Orchestra. Lyrically, this number shreds the current crop of pretentious pop stars: “In the sea of negativity I’m a statue of liberty/ That’s why people love me, it’s humbling.”

I would recommend this whole album for its consistency and lack of filler tracks, which is unusual these days. If you haven’t heard the PSBs’ recent output, just sample Ego Music and Invisible. The album title was inspired by a walk in Elysian Park in Los Angeles, a protected area dating back to the founding of the city and given a name appropriately derived from the Greek word for paradise.

➢ Sample Elysium at Pet Shop Boys website

➢ View video for Invisible by Pet Shop Boys at NME

VIEWS FROM OTHER CRITICS

➢ “Pet Shop Boys have written their own eulogy” — by Ryan Thomas at The Line of Best Fit

➢ “Intimate loungetronica” — Elysium album review by Mayer Nissim at Digital Spy … plus video for Winner

➢ “The pop pair’s warmest and wisest yet” — Nick Levine at BBC online … plus audio clips of all tracks

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➤ 19 gay kisses in pop videos that made it past the censor

❚ CENSORSHIP! OH DEARIE ME! Digital Spy reports this weekend that the lavish video for Firework — the single currently No 4 in this week’s UK chart by American singer-songwriter Katy Perry — has been censored for British television channels. The ludicrous widescreen promo, which they say “plays out the song’s message of self-belief” (yuk), shows fireworks shooting from Perry’s chest, and from the bodies of prancing extras. More shocking, apparently, are the pyrotechnic depictions of a mugging, a cancer patient, a woman giving birth and two men kissing. The two-second “gay kiss” has been pixelated, presumably to save embarrassing the children, in a version of the video directed by Dave Meyers for delivery to TV channels under a cross-promotional deal with Deutsche Telekom. The European telecommunications group recruited fans from all over Europe to appear in the video when it was shot in Budapest.

It’s all too much. Why, this weekend too, fansites have been twittering that Katy Perry and BFF Rihanna got into an argument over Katy’s new hubby, the amoral buffoon Russell Brand (double yuk). The only good news is that Katy has at least vowed never to strip for Playboy.

Katy Perry, Firework, pop video, censorship,gay kiss,

Fireworks in Firework: British TV viewers see only a pixelated version

According to the star herself, Firework is influenced by Jack Kerouac’s novel about male bonding, On the Road. Digital Spy’s reviewer Nick Levine even accords the song the accolade of being a “straight up self-empowerment anthem”. Pass the sickbag, James.

OK, OK, boys and girls. In Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s immortal words, relax. For any TV viewers feeling deprived of the knee-trembling kiss in the Perry video, which is of course viewable in full 1080p HD on YouTube, there’s plenty more where that came from. The web is replete with more pop videos flaunting gay kisses than mum and dad might wish for. The following links round up the most notorious from both genders — four are viewable only behind age-restricted gateways. And because it’s so darn funky, Shapersofthe80s has thrown in the Pet Shop Boys’ most notorious Bruce Weber video for Being Boring, which contains naughtiness on any number of levels, but you’re going to need gimlet eyes to spot the gay kiss. You’re very welcome to propose your own favourite pop kisses. Thanks to Jobe, we’re up to 20 vidz now.

Lady Gaga, Telephone, pop video, gay kiss

Lady Gaga: a jailbird’s perk in the video for Telephone

Lady Gaga, Stephen Gately, Boyzone, Blink-182

Pop smackers: Lady Gaga in Lovegame, Stephen Gately in Boyzone’s Better, two vamps in Blink-182’s I Miss You

♫ Christina Aguilera’s Beautiful

♫ Lady Gaga’s Lovegame

♫ Lady Gaga’s Telephone

♫ Blink-182’s I Miss You

♫ Peter Doherty’s Last Of The English Roses

♫ Black Eyed Peas’ I Gotta Feeling

♫ Yehonathan’s On a Hot Summer Night

♫ Adam Lambert tongue-diving in concert

♫ Tatu’s All the Things She Said

♫ George Michael’s Outside (uncut)

♫ Matt Alber’s End of the World

♫ Kylie’s All the Lovers

♫ The Strokes’ Juicebox

♫ Paul Oscar’s International

♫ Madonna’s American Pie

♫ Scissor Sisters’ Filthy/Gorgeous

♫ Boyzone’s Better

♫ Pet Shop Boys’ Being Boring — a film by Bruce Weber (below)

LATE ADDITIONs

Pink, Raise Your Glass, gay kiss, pop video
♫ In at No 19 (thanks, Rob): Pink’s Raise Your Glass — “Don’t be fancy, just get dancey”!

♫ And one more makes 20 (thanks, Jobediah Ingram): Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s Same Love

++++++

➢ Read on in the New York Times:
For Gays, New Songs of Survival

“These artists represent a new wave of young (and mostly straight) women who are providing the soundtrack for a generation of gay fans coming to terms with their identity in a time of turbulent and confusing cultural messages.”

➢ Update Nov 2011: Firework falls out of UK chart after 58 weeks

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