PSB3: Pet Shop Boys rate, 2006-2019. #26, #25 Throbbing, sex-in-the-dark, strong, controlling anthem | Page 47 | The Popjustice Forum

PSB3: Pet Shop Boys rate, 2006-2019. #26, #25 Throbbing, sex-in-the-dark, strong, controlling anthem

Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by Ray, Mar 18, 2019.


What is your favourite section of this rate?

  1. Fundamental

    13 vote(s)
  2. Yes

    17 vote(s)
  3. Elysium

    3 vote(s)
  4. Electric

    11 vote(s)
  5. Super

    3 vote(s)
  6. Agenda

    3 vote(s)
  7. Others

    1 vote(s)
  8. Christmas

    0 vote(s)
  1. Ray



    I really like this

    it bores me


    'Baby (demo for Alcazar)'
    B-side to 'Leaving'
    Average: 5,777
    Highest score: 1x9 (@Riiiiiiiii)
    Lowest score: 5x3 (!!) (@MidnightCity, @etcetera, @JakeMagnus, @TrendyMüller, @etienne)

    Neil This was written as a single. When we wrote it I thought it was a very, very catchy song. Later it appeared briefly in our ballet, The Most Incredible Thing. It's a love song. This is one of those lyrics where I'm not being Neil Tennant, I'm singing from the point of view of, in this instance, a teenage girl.
    Chris We should have given it to a teenage girl.
    Neil But that never happens. Publishers never do that. But it's very sort of sweet, isn't it? And we did give it to Alcazar.

    Ray I gave this 8 points. I think the only thing it really needed to be a lovely single (for Kylie, probably, she's a teenage girl forever) was beefed up production. It could have done with a chord change in the chorus, but really, I'm just being picky. I thought it would do very well in the rate, it's ultra-pop, for once that electro synth production actually works. I am baffled at this leaving before 'Gin and Jag' or 'Building a wall' or, really, lots of other tracks. I'm replaying it for the third time right now and it still makes me smile a bit.

    @nostalgiakills (4): Pleasant enough, but quite generic, really, and not especially memorable. Almost every sound in it is ill-chosen, which doesn’t help. [Look at us not agreeing on this – Ray]
    @WhipperSnapper (6): Did they write this for Alcazar? It’s good, although a bit by-the-numbers
    @VivaForever (6): I never knew they wrote this. It’s, uh, never been among my favorite Alcazar songs.
    @DominoDancing (7.5): It's hard not to recognize the bop at the heart of this, but after hearing the fully produced Alcazar version (which would get a point or so more) this sounds every bit the demo that it is.
    @nanafan (7): I really like this, I prefer the PSB version to Alcazar’s
    @TrendyMüller (3): I´m not feeling this and it bores me.
    @JakeMagnus (3): Never heard the Alcazar version, but the demo is not very good
    @Jóga (5): It’s blatant it’s a demo. There’s some potential but the chorus is a bit meh.
    @westendgirl (7): the music is great, the lyrics not so
    @Midnight City (3): Should have stayed as a demo
    @Filler (6): fwiw "The grind" is a 9 minimum [I am not a fan of their Tennant/Lowe albums – Ray]
    @Bleu Noir (6): Very cute but Alcazar version is better

    funkyg, Riiiiiiiii, Cutlery and 5 others like this.
  2. Baby is mashable with 20th Century...the verses are almost the same.
    Baby is underdeveloped and much too plodding to be good pop.
    That Theremin-esque sound should not run through the whole song, and definitely not throughout the verses AND the chorus.
    Bye, Baby.
    Farnaby likes this.
  3. So many people arriving at the random low score of 3 is a feat. I‘m impressed.
    TrendyMüller, Ray and WhipperSnapper like this.
  4. I've never seen that picture @Ray! Also, now I can never un-see it.

    Bye, Baby! I really only liked Alcazar when Magnus was in anyway.
    Ray likes this.
  5. Ray


  6. What kind of photo shoppery black magic was involved in that picture?! I don´t want to believe that this is actually real. Who are those people and why do they look like they´re coated in aspic?
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
    slurmjunkie and WhipperSnapper like this.
  7. Ray


    It's just crap quality, but unfortunately real.
    slurmjunkie and WhipperSnapper like this.
  8. It´s
    Ray likes this.
  9. Ray



    cheap and basic

    very catchy and I can’t skip the track


    B-side to 'Leaving'
    Average: 5,78472
    Highest score: 1x10 (@Sally_Harper)
    Lowest score: 2x1 (@blissteria, @TrendyMüller)

    Chris An unusual track.
    Neil Musically this came about because the twins, Polly and Sophie, who were performing with us on the Pandemonium tour, liked Balkan beats. And that rubbed off on us. Chris wanted to write a Balkan beats track and so we wrote this. We actually worked on this a little bit with Andrew Dawson, but then we agreed that it wasn't going on the album. It's quirky, had most of the lyric already written as a sort of poem, and the conceit of the lyric is that in hell there's a lot of dictators, bickering.
    Chris Not all of them though? I'm just wondering which ones didn't make it.
    Neil The ones that didn't rhyme probably. The thing they have in common, which is why it's hell is that they're all crashing bores. Which I tend to think is true. I even had more verses. There was one about Colonel Gadaffi but the verse was too rude, about him farting in somebody's face.
    Ray Good Gods.
    Neil Because he famously farted in Tony Blair's face. It went: 'Of Adolf Eichmann/there's barely a trace/but Colonel Gadaffi/still farts in his face.' But the song has a very serious point: 'Evil is a bore with a big idea.' When we went to Cuba ten years ago we were very much struck by the fact that there was one television channel with Fidel Castro boring the pants off you all day long, and I think it's true of a lot of dictators. In the song, the idea of hell is one of sheer, unremitting, appalling boredom, these people boasting and driving you mad with the dreariness of their conversation and the redundancy of their pathetic ideas. 'Love death not life' is paraphrasing the quote from someone in Al Qaeda after 9/11: "You love life, we love death.'

    Ray Apparently I gave this one 4 points? I definitely underscored it, maybe because of 'hell hello, it's hell in here'? I never knew what it was about, to be honest. With context it's an 8. Neil's voice is a tad strained on the highest notes, even though Andrew Dawson did a really good job with vocals on Elysium – I wonder if this is why a few of you call it a demo/cheap? Because the production sounds finished (and good) to me... I definitely don't hear any 'Balkan beats', though. If anything, I hear EBTG from their Walking Wounded period. This would have made a much better single than 'Memory of the future', which, sadly, is still in.

    @nostalgiakills (7): Neil channels Jake Thackray, of all people, on this song, and Chris provides a backing track that makes the whole thing sound like a sick joke - which, of course, it is. “Evil is a bore with a big idea” is an epigram worth preserving, and whilst this isn’t the kind of song you’re going to want to hear every day, it’s a welcome change.
    @WhipperSnapper (4): Clever, although weirdly it reminds me of Putting on the Ritz.
    @DominoDancing (3): This is pretty bad. I guess they fell in love with the concept, but it's very obviously a demo. The production sounds cheap and basic. And the melody sounds just so clumsy.
    @nanafan (5): Something different and this works
    @TrendyMüller (1): The lyrics are funny as fuck, but the music is…HELL!
    @JakeMagnus (4.5): Good idea though
    @Jóga (7): Neil’s wit in full display. Enjoyable.
    @Midnight City (4): The production is a bit painful…cheap sounding
    @Sally_Harper (10) I love this! It’s just so cheerful and I love the imagery of all these terrible people pissing each other off with their awfulness.
    @Bleu Noir (3): Plodding
    @Farnaby (5): Childish middle-ages ballad [This is a ballad? – Ray] with big « witty » political lyrics and a crappy basic production : hell indeed... But it’s very catchy and I can’t skip the track even if I wish I could.

    We're going to leave the b-sides alone for a bit, which is nice, because there are hardly any left.

    Edit: I am still chuckling at this:

    Chris I'm just wondering which ones didn't make it.
    Neil The ones that didn't rhyme probably.

    That's Literally (as in the book) material.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
  10. @Ray where do you hear any similarity to Walking Wounded (which is one of my favourite albums ever)? I just can´t (and wont) hear it?!
    To be really "Balkan" this is missing a back-beat, but the beat is still horribly "oompah". All it´s missing is a Tuba (not!).
    I have to say that this is not underproduced, though.
    WhipperSnapper and Ray like this.
  11. I kinda hate it, despite the promise of Balkan music and social commentary. They could've just sampled a good turbo-folk track and called it a day, that's evoking Hell immediately.
    blissteria, WhipperSnapper and Ray like this.
  12. Ray


    Not again!

    The clipped looped "snare" sounds. Think 'Before Today'.
  13. You mean that rolling maraca-like sound?
  14. Oh, but YES again. Imagine an interpolation with this!
    It might've turned out a bit like this?
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
    Ray and TrendyMüller like this.
  15. Realisation; the songs I've scored either 4, 5, or 6 are basically interchangeable in terms of subjective quality. The quality differential between 4 and 5 is negligible, whereas there would need to be quite a good reason to give something a 9 rather than an 8. Sorry if I've just put you all to sleep with that newsflash.

    Hun, it's still in. I'm shook!
    TrendyMüller and blissteria like this.
  16. Ray


    I told you to leave my 10s alone...
    WhipperSnapper and DominoDancing like this.
  17. Apart from your dig at 'Building a wall', I largely agree with you. This is the type of electroclash I really like. It's just a shame that the lyrics are so throwaway (especially in the chorus) and the title is awful, so I can't give it more than 7 points. @westendgirl got it completely right:
    I prefer their demo as it is more edgy and has Neil on vocals. It always amazes me how trite and generic his vocal parts can come across when they are sung by a different singer (even if they are technically better singers). It just shows how much I appreciate the charisma of Neil's distinctive voice and singing style. In addition, the demo has that fantastic coda, which unfortunately fades out way too soon.

    I am, though. And I feel this reveal would not be complete without a video of 'The grind' featuring an excerpt of 'Baby' posted here:

    I'm a bit shocked you didn't know what it was about. But kudos to you for owning up to your mistake. Which number would 'Hell' have made otherwise?

    I almost gave this a 10, too. This is quirky without being irritating. The lyrics are inventive and the title alone would have fit Elysium better than some of the other songs. It would have lightened the mood of the album (while still being dark). They should have made 'Ego music' a B-side instead. I also like @Ray's suggestion that it would have made a better single than 'Memory of the future'.

    That's a bit of an exaggeration. While we do have lost a lot of them (especially the later ones), we now still have 19 (exactly half of them) left.
  18. Ray


    #68. Interesting how the rather extreme disagreements over a lot of songs resulted in a lot of scores between 5-6.

    Even though I'm a yes yes yes yes on 'Ego music', I agree. (See also 'Hold on' and 'Winner'...)
    slurmjunkie and WhipperSnapper like this.
  19. I gave 'Ego music' a 7 and just think it works better as a B-side. The other two, however, shouldn't have been released in any form whatsoever.
    Ray and TrendyMüller like this.
  20. Ray



    I’ve been conditioned to associate it with lovely festive feelings

    Truly horrible. Not even camp!


    'It doesn't often snow at Christmas'
    Originally a free CD with Literally magazine, remixed for Pet Shop Boys Christmas EP
    Average: 5,7861
    Highest score: 3x10 (@nanafan, @slurmjunkie, @westendgirl)
    Lowest score: 2x0 (@Sweet Music, @TrendyMüller)

    Part 1
    Neil For some reason we decided to write a Christmas song for the fan club. It was the Pet Shop Boys Christmas card that year. Sent out in silver foil packaging – that must have cost a lot of money. It was written and recorded in Pete Gleadall's studio. We were struggling, trying to write something, and then suddenly this came out incredibly quickly. This version is produced by us. We re-recorded it much later, but I'm not sure this isn't the best version of this.
    Chris How cheery is this?
    Neil The best bit of the record is when Chris says 'and a happy new year'. In his chirpy mode. His Simon Bates mode.
    Chris I loved doing this at the O2, with dancing Christmas trees.
    Neil That was ten years later, of course. The song was inspired by the fact that one always, to this day, sees the film White Christmas but in England it's very rarely a white Christmas. Though as soon as we released this there were a slew of white Christmases.
    Chris In fact it snowed so heavily that people couldn't get to the O2 arena to see us perform it.
    Neil Though it was only a single for the fan club, it got radio play from the first year,
    Chris And now it's on a lot of Christmas compilations,
    Neil In my opinion the best song we wrote in the 1990s. As a pure pop song. It's just effortless really.

    Part 2
    Neil This was written and originally recorded in 1997 for the fan club. As the original was only ever meant to be a demo, we decided to do a bit more work on it. I was always quite keen on having it as a single, though Chris never was.
    Chris The chorus sounds a lot more Christmas-y than the verse, doesn't it? I suppose that's the pay-off.
    Neil I always thought we'd struck lucky with it and written a really good Christmas song. And in the last 20 years what really good Christmas songs have been written? Anyway, we did a slightly convoluted thing, because we wanted to release 'All over the world' as a single, and decided to do an EP.
    Ray Slightly convoluted, yes.
    Chris This was with Marius de Vries.
    Neil We knew him because he's worked with Rufus Wainwright. We'd asked him to work on 'All over the world' so we asked him to work on this too. This version has a choir and orchestra on it.

    Ray I actually...really like it? I'm not a big fan of xmas, because of personal associations with that, but I can't not smile when this comes on. 'Christmas message was long ago lost, now it's all about shopping and how much things cost' – how is that not true? One of about three xmas songs I even play on purpose. Obviously it's never been a hit of any sort, because OLD MEN, unlike 'Last Christmas', which will hit top 10 until the climate catastrophe destroys the remaining bits of the world. And then the ten surviving rich white men will play it in a loop anyway. It's difficult to some people to disconnect this song from, eh, the season, as evidenced in the commentary. It's difficult for me to believe that I managed to do so. What is this year's festive number one? Answer: Ed Sheeran. It will always be Ed Sheeran from now on.

    PS. There was a time in my life when I had to choose between food or paying the bills. I sold the fan club CD for €75. That was the best xmas present I ever got (in June, if I recall correctly).

    @nostalgiakills (4): Charming but very, very slight.
    @WhipperSnapper (6): A serviceable Christmas tune but not played much by me
    @DominoDancing (7.5): It's cute, especially considering this was originally a freebie for fan club members, and the beefed up production helps as well. Not Top 10 PSB songs territory, obviously.
    @OspreyQueen (7): I don’t think this is a very good song, but it’s on my Christmas playlist anyway and over the years I’ve been conditioned to associate it with lovely festive feelings. So I can’t not give it a decent score.
    @nanafan (10): A staple of my Christmas playlist and a very Pet Shop Boys track. Love it
    @TrendyMüller (0): Truly horrible. Not even camp!
    @JakeMagnus (0.5): Just horrible..
    @Jóga (3): I don’t like Christmas. This isn’t good.
    @Seventeen Days (9): I have voiced my feelings on Christmas songs before, but I actually quite adore this one. I have good memories attached to it, though I prefer the original fan club mix from 1997.
    @westendgirl (10): I prefer the demo version. Whenever I listen to it, I picture the dancing Christmas trees in the Pandemonium – show, that was brilliant!
    @Midnight City (4): A pointless exercise in "yes, we've done a Christmas song". Tick [Seasonal Pet Shop Boys can't be far – Ray]
    @Sally_Harper (9): Festive bop.
    @Filler (4): you know a lyric's a write-off when they've had to force phrasing like "the way it's meant to do" to get it to rhyme
    @Farnaby (3): It tries to be uplifting, tries and tries, but fails and ends up being annoying. Like One In A Million, but worse.

    Oh, sorry, wrong link.

    "Live" at O2 – worth it for Chris's hat. Can't believe anybody would find this 'not camp':

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