PSB2: Pet Shop Boys rate, 1993-2004. Winner, rate facts, part 3 discussion | Page 39 | The Popjustice Forum

PSB2: Pet Shop Boys rate, 1993-2004. Winner, rate facts, part 3 discussion

Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by Ray, Feb 18, 2018.


What's your favourite part of this rate?

  1. Very

    17 vote(s)
  2. Relentless

    0 vote(s)
  3. Bilingual

    9 vote(s)
  4. Nightlife

    5 vote(s)
  5. Release

    4 vote(s)
  6. Disco 3

    1 vote(s)
  7. Extras (a- and b-sides)

    1 vote(s)
  1. Ray


    Today we say goodbye to a lead single...


    Utterly dreadful.

    I like this much more than I should

    Well. An originally planned lead single.

    82. Happiness is an option
    ALBUM TRACK from Nightlife
    Average: 5.4142857143
    Highest score: 10 (@etienne, @tylerc904)
    Lowest score: 0 (@ohnoitisnathan, @Bleu Noir)

    Neil: My favourite track on the album so far.
    Chris: Yes.
    Neil: When we played the album to Sire, they didn't think there was a single. So in an effort to write a different kind of single we wrote this. And we added it to the album at the last moment. But Sire didn't think this was a single either. They thought it was very slow. I still think this would have been a perfectly credible first single.
    Chris: It's great when Sylvia lets rip at the end.
    Neil: We hadn't done a song with a talking verse for quite a long time. One line comes from one of Brian Eno's daughters who was about six at the time. He told us she said, looking in the mirror, 'Daddy, I don't think I suit my face'. The song is basically saying: it's not all grim, even though it sounds like it. The lyrics start with me having my famous bad acid trip...
    Ray: I need help, my eyes rolled SO far into back of my head someone needs to come with a spoon and get them out.
    Neil: 1974. 'I talked to a flower that was almost dead/my body a prison, why did I do it?' My friend who sent us the acid said 'Only take half – it's really strong', but of course we ignored that, and it was unbelievably strong. I can still vaguely remember it. It wasn't like being a human being, it was like being a thing...
    Ray: Neil, I AM DYING OF BOREDOM. Say something about Russians.
    Neil: The song also mentions a Russian proverb...
    Geowayne: Neil has reportedly asserted that this is indeed an old Russian saying. But a Russian email correspondent—apparently a teacher with a background in linguistics—has disputed this, saying that he's never heard of any such aphorism.
    Neil: ...but I read it in a book about Russia: 'Man is born under a blue sky and dies in the centre of a dark forest'. In other words, you create your own fears as you grow older.
    Chris: Do we still agree with the premise?
    Neil: 'Happiness is an option'? I think so, yes. Why wouldn't we? I think you can choose.​

    This song makes 'Nu-Di-Ty' and 'Sexercize' sound like great first single ideas. It's a lot like 'West End girls' with all that's good about it removed. At the same time, the Rachmaninoff 'Vocalise' bit is beautiful, and I do love Sylvia's ad-libs. But had this been the lead single, I wouldn't have bought the album in week one. The only PSB cliche this song doesn't contain is a male choir doing the 'Vocalise' bit. Geowayne dryly notes, 'his number features Neil "rapping" (if you can call it that) in an unusual manner, more conversational than rap's usual declamatory style. The message is clearly optimistic and perhaps even a little didactic', which is hilarious and almost makes the song worth it.

    (For the record, I agree happiness is an option, although sometimes 'happiness' is defined as 'less unhappiness than otherwise'. Still better.)

    @TrendyMüller: Oh no, there is nothing optional about it! It´s horrible! [But it IS optional. Hit the skip button. – Ray]

    @ohnoitisnathan: Geez this is bad. Skipping this is an option.

    @Carsten: Not half as bad as everyone thinks. Not half as good as Neil and Chris think. [Cryptic is an option – Ray]

    @OspreyQueen: The song’s nothing amazing, but “everyone’s singing ‘war, what is it good for’ while planning the next one’ is brilliant.

    @MidnightCity: Love the chorus, verses less so but very PSB. Was this the inspiration for "Inner City Pressure"/Flight of the Conchords?

    Ray: I think that was 'West End girls'.

    @Sally_Harper: I can’t find much to like here, I’m afraid.

    @tylerc904: I believe this is highly unpopular among PSB fans (hard to keep track these days), but I love it. The lyrics are some of my favorites on the album.

    @DominoDancing: One of the biggest embarrassements in their discography. Hate if for the same reasons as Metamorphosis, except this doesn't even have an energetic arrangement going for it. This is too much like an Oli P. track...

    @westendgirl: no happiness for me when I listen to it!

    @WhipperSnapper: It is not easy… to listen to this song. Utterly dreadful.

    @mrdonut: Despite an inspired Rachmaninov sample, this is a bit meh

    @Farnaby: The first of the Boys’ naff & basic songs (see also The Only One, Footsteps, half of Elysium…). Of course the whole world, including Neil, Chris, Craig, Elton… [NOT ME – Ray] thinks it’s the best thing PSB did. But they are all wrong. Thanks to the moral obligation to listen to whole tracks for this rate, I just heard the harp at the end for the first time since 1999. Stupid of me: it’s the best bit of the song.

    @One Stop Candy Shop: It's the Metamorphosis of Nightlife. [Can you please leave my coming out song alone? – Ray] Too much female vocals in the chorus and the spoken word verses are not very exciting either. Best part is Neil's chorus at the end.

    @JakeMagnus: I like this much more than I should, mostly for the 'Happiness is an option' line / idea and the very welcome return of the backing singers. From 'It isn't easy, the war within us' onward is my favorite part of the song.

    Nightlife tour, potato quality:

    Sandhya Tiwari cover version:

    Phew. Not too upset to see this one leave. Is it the end of bad news for Nightlife? It is not easy, Nightlife, but don't give up now (don't give up)... when the Russians wonder why your averages start at four point five, and end in a dark five point four-est.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
  2. I, of course, really like this track and gave it a 7 … It has that breezy melancholia that PSB do so well, and although it is an option, captures the feeling that we’re note quite ready for happinrss just yet ...

    But the I also gave Searching for the face of Jesus an 8, so what do I know ...

    At least Nightlife has gone, I was getting worried for a bit ...
  3. Nightlife marks the first occasions I would find myself rolling my eyes at Neil's previously unassailable lyrics. This, In Denial and New York City Boy all have various levels of word-based cringe going on and I'd never felt that with the Boys before.

    (Side note - I love Metamorphosis. Properly love it. But it shouldn't have been on the album.)

    This is a bit of a disaster, although it does improve as we get to the final third. If this had been a lead single they would have been laughed off the playlists.
  4. The real surprise is that "Nightlife" is less popular than "Release", apparently, seeing how many tracks have left.
    I, of course, hated the song when I first heard it, with it's fake hip-hop, Coolio-inspired(?!) vibe, but the Vocalise sample and the lyrics started working, and then it sort-of clicked. Not one of my favorites, but I've got some love for it. And as a formerly depressed person, I love the moment where restoring some agency in your life can save you. You can choose!
    slurmjunkie and WhipperSnapper like this.
  5. Ray


    I did a little calculation. Full results will be revealed at the end, but basically I checked who is the nearest, and the farthest with their votes vs final averages. 0 = you predicted everything perfectly (of course nobody did). 1 = your results are the worst prediction of final results.

    The nearest is @Future Lover at 0.38728 (nobody else's results are as near the averages as his, but since it's still nowhere near zero, that doesn't help him predict as much as he would like. Oh, let me see how his 11 is doing... *checks* Ah.)

    The "worst" is @ohnoitisnathan at 1 (nobody else's results are as far from averages as his).

    @Vive Indifference = 0.55467.

    Me = 0.8582942106 (Damn – apparently my taste in PSB is quite different from the average voter's!)

    And, just randomly, my archnemesis @Bleu Noir – 0.97665 (whose taste in PSB is almost as different from average voter's as Nathan's).

    As a still often depressed person I agree. For me that choice is between being 44% depressed vs 66% but I still prefer the 44%. (Or, in your case, 38.728%...)
  6. I'm aware of that lyric-wise. But I still think Neil intended the music to be enjoyable (even thinking the song single-worthy) instead of boring (which it is to me).
  7. Damn, I'm so mediocre! But sort of awesome I kind of win or something. By the way, this has already happened in another rate, can't remember which one...
    Riiiiiiiii and Ray like this.
  8. I am at a loss as to why that song is so unpopular with everyone. Itll be interesting to see how you all score ‘single’ and ‘somewhere’...
    JakeMagnus likes this.
  9. I misread that as Shania Twain, which would've been the radomnest thing ever.

    Love Is A Catastrophe can leave next.
    etienne, WhipperSnapper and Ray like this.

  10. Ray, whilst you have your abacus out, whose were the highest/lowest (and mine) under/over scores? (ie. who scored too high and who scored too low) …
  11. I remember that each time I saw the Nightlife tour, Happiness is an option was the moment when everyone chose to hit the bathrooms, refresh a drink, chat with a neighbor, etc. Poor Neil.

    Also, on a programmatic note, every time @Ray mentions Geowayne I groan audibly.
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
    Ray likes this.
  12. I enjoy Geowayne's page, myself. Is he not well liked?
    Carsten and DominoDancing like this.
  13. His encyclopedic pages are helpful and interesting for fans. I'm just a bitch.
    nostalgiakills and Ray like this.
  14. Did he just zero everything?
    ohnoitisnathan likes this.
  15. Ray


    No, just the farthest from everyone else's votes. But he did give a few...not very high scores here and there.
  16. Ray


    Will do later when I have my laptop at hand! On the phone now.
  17. Also, what does the percentage mean? How much positions did we miss etc.? I'm a mathematician too, I kinda live for this crap. First the mean squared errors, scale ohnoitsnatan to 1 as the worst result, and then the rest of us compare to him?
  18. Happiness is an Option is a weird one for me - I don’t like the elements per se, but it all works together. It’s a song I don’t skip, a good album track, but not an iconic one.
  19. For a moment you had me thinking "What? Nightlife's lead single out already. That can't be."
    Ray likes this.
  20. Delusions of grandeur.
    westendgirl, WhipperSnapper and Ray like this.
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