Pet Shop Boys

Neil T has a beautiful feature on the last song of Casisdead's new album. On paper it's one of the oddest collaborations possible, but it works. Wish they'd hooked up ten years ago, Cas could have featured on Thursday ;)
 
My Relentless vinyl finally arrived, and as happy as I am to own a physical copy...my oh my is that packaging ugly. I thought that perhaps it will leave a different impression once I actually hold it in my hands. But it doesn't. I think the PSB/Farrow collaboration has really, really, really run its course, it's been ages since I've found any of it particularly aesthetically pleasing (I liked the single cover for Leaving, and even that was just because I thought the photography was great). It would be time for someone fresh, but it seems they personally enjoy Farrow's work too much.
 
My Relentless vinyl finally arrived, and as happy as I am to own a physical copy...my oh my is that packaging ugly. I thought that perhaps it will leave a different impression once I actually hold it in my hands. But it doesn't. I think the PSB/Farrow collaboration has really, really, really run its course, it's been ages since I've found any of it particularly aesthetically pleasing (I liked the single cover for Leaving, and even that was just because I thought the photography was great). It would be time for someone fresh, but it seems they personally enjoy Farrow's work too much.
What do you find ugly exactly? I love the idea of the pixelheads as it harks back to the computer aesthetics of the time. I also think the yellow vinyl with the blue labels looks great. Maybe it´s the black sleeve? Then again this is a nod to the Alternative cover, which this seems to mimic.
I really like the cover more than the record, I must say.
Did you see the visualiser videos they put on their YT channel? They all are short loops in 16-bit video game style.
 
I will admit it's difficult for me to verbalize it, but I'll try.
A big part of it is a general tiredness on my side of the minimalist approach to the sleeve design. Because this is the well they've gone to for nearly every sleeve in the last 35+ years, there's a lot of similar material to compare each new cover to, and the Relentless one is one more which seems cheap and rushed.
Part of it is definitely the black background. Sure, Alternative had a similar approach, but its color story overall was more muted, plus the original lenticular photos on it made it a different beast anyway. Thematically I also don't really know why the Relentless cover should harken back to Alternative of all releases in the first place, when the original, much more garish design around Relentless, fit the Very era so much better. I don't see any inspiration in this, sadly.
A pet peeve when it comes to pixel art is also the mix of pixel sizes on the sleeve. The video game effect that the really cute visualizer loops have (I agree with you on that) is affected by that and in the end actually completely missing from the album cover.
All of this doesn't apply to the inner sleeve and the vinyl itself by the way, which I am much happier with. So I perhaps should be more precise with my statement and refer to the outer sleeve instead of the packaging as a whole.

But you know, looking back a few years I tried to intellectualize the honestly quite boring cover for Format by accepting how clever it was to abstract the visual of a set of records on a shelf. I fail to do something similar here.
 
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...Relentless went top 40!

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I think the PSB/Farrow collaboration has really, really, really run its course, it's been ages since I've found any of it particularly aesthetically pleasing (I liked the single cover for Leaving, and even that was just because I thought the photography was great). It would be time for someone fresh, but it seems they personally enjoy Farrow's work too much.
For me, Leaving was the last really memorable (ok, "iconic") design package and I definitely think some recent choices (the Super singles) have been more disappointing than not. However, the sleeve for Cricket Wife, albeit obscure, was brilliant. How much of this is to do with economic reality? Chris texting a blurry photo of Neal to the design team is a far cry from Pelle Crépin or Wolfgang Tillmans, and yet it's nothing if not inkeeping with the current Instagram-influenced aesthetic. I didn't love the switch to Scott King in the early 00's (that Disco 3 font!) and at this late date I'm grateful for the post-Parlophone continuity. So, I feel conflicted. It will be interesting to see what they do for the upcoming album.
 
The artwork from Hotspot was giving 'Live discussion of Arte Povera with The Observer at The Barbican coming soon' instead of 'MINCEY SOPHISTICATED GAYS MAKE MINCEY SOPHISTICATED MUSIC FOR YOU GET IT NOW IT'LL MAKE YOUR LIFE BETTER'

Having said I didn't mind the artwork for Bilingual. I know it's a sore point for some.
 
He/Him
To be honest, there was a time I’d have been so excited by this news, but I’m struggling with the recent realisation that Neil is fine with Israeli apartheid and Zionism. His friendship and collaborations with Frances Barber(Zionist and transphobe) have bothered me for a long time too. It’s been wall-to-wall Ukrainian flags on PSB social media and at their shows since the Russian invasion, but tumbleweed for Palestine and the thousands of innocent civilians that have been indiscriminately murdered over 8 weeks.

Neil Tennant on Israel

I’ve adored them for decades, but I think they’re kind of dead to me at this point.
 
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