PSB3: Pet Shop Boys rate, 2006-2019. #26, #25 Throbbing, sex-in-the-dark, strong, controlling anthem | Page 51 | 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. I wasn't able to post sooner (and will post a comment on 'Love life' later as that's the exit that didn't feel controversial to me). I'm actually quite shocked about your low score for 'Blue on blue' and thought it would fare better in this rate. But now that even @TrendyMüller is backtracking from his original opinion...

    Yes, the backing track oozes old-school Bobby O excitement and Neil's vocals add a bit of an edge. I can understand some people wanting more variety (and this even has a middle eight) but once in a while I like them doing these mood pieces: see also 'The Dead can dance', which, surprisingly for this rate, is still in.

    Though your lowest scores usually baffle me, I'm inclined to agree here. The only thing that stopped me from giving this a 10 is that harsh and metallic sounding note at the very beginning, which runs through most of the track (probably a victim of over-compression).
    DominoDancing likes this.
  2. As someone said, Blue on Blue didn‘t fit on the album but makes for an excellent companion piece. Exactly what a b side should be.
    WhipperSnapper likes this.
  3. Ray


    Two eliminations coming together due to attics, garbage bins, scaffolding pipes, and nieces. Is that OK, @Future Lover?
  4. What do we think would have happened to God Willing had we rated it? For me it‘s their best instrumental, but they tend to go out pretty early.
    blissteria likes this.
  5. Ray


    I think that if we were rating the full version...


    No, I can't really come up with a score for it, even the full version. It's very interlude-ish, no matter how long it is. My favourite instrumental of theirs, by the way, is 'Casting a shadow', which got somewhat destroyed in the second part of the rate...

    Anyway, time for #66.
  6. Ray



    basic and difficult

    very simple but very good


    'Your early stuff'
    Elysium album track
    Average: 5,9194
    Highest score: 1x10 (@Sally_Harper)
    Lowest score: 1x2 (@WhipperSnapper)

    Neil Light relief after the first two songs.
    Chris This falls into the same category as 'Yesterday, when I was mad', doesn't it?
    Neil Yes – commenting on people commenting on us. Someone literally said to me last week: 'Still doing any music, mate? Or have you given up now?
    Chris It was the train guard. It was worse than that.
    Neil You're right: 'I hear you used to be in a band'. And he was unbelievably patronising. This happens to me at least once a week. It's normally taxi-drivers,
    Chris Well, taxi-drivers only listen to talk radio.
    Neil I mean, occasionally you might get a taxi-driver say, 'Oh, heard your new song – quite like it.' But it's quite rare.
    Ray If it was 'Winner' it must be very rare.
    Chris I don't think there are any other groups that write songs that are negative about themselves. I can't think of any other group that would do that. Most other groups, their ego would not allow them to do it. It might be a bit foolish that we do.
    Neil It's also a general clichéd comment that people say: 'Well, I like their early stuff.' I've noticed myself saying it before now.
    Chris Well, it's normally true, isn't it?
    Neil Often the reason you like the early stuff is because it was your early stuff as well. You, as the listener, were young at that point and therefore you were listening to music as young. But of course it's meant to be funny, this song. It's meant to have a wry sense of humour. It wasn't written out of anger. But it is written because it happens so often. It was initially inspired by a specific taxi-driver who is quoted in it who said 'the sound of those old machines', but think almost every line in it has been said to me. 'Bad in a good way/if you know what I mean' – a taxi driver said that too. Musically, it's got a kind of Sixties' quality.
    Chris We were just sitting down to write an album at this point, and you just see what comes out. Originally the music was a bit funny but the jokey lyrics with the jokey music, it was all too much, so I just thought 'let's make it moody and then there'd be some more poignancy to the words.' The original music wasn't very good.
    Neil It was jaunty. I wrote the lyrics to Chris's jaunty music.
    Chris I rewrote the chords, and then the melody had to be changed slightly.
    Neil And then all of a sudden it made sense.
    Chris There's also a very subtle reference to 'West End girls' in the bassline. Very subtle.
    Neil and Ray in unison So subtle I didn't notice it.
    Chris 'Your early stuff!' I slipped it in as a little musical joke.
    Neil I think it's also interesting that on this album, every song so far has referred to aging.

    Ray I...don't like this at all. I hate self-aware songs no matter who recorded them, 'Yesterday, when I was mad' being an exception... okay, and 'Invisible', but that's being aware of self rather than being aware of being a pop group. If I met someone who said Pet Shop Boys were 'deadpan and ironic' and played me this song as proof, I would have to hang my head and mutter they were right. Musically it's okay, but the lyric just kills it for me.

    @nostalgiakills (7): Cute and sweet, and sometimes that’s enough.
    @WhipperSnapper (2): Dear, your bitterness is showing. [Dddddd – Ray] A basic and difficult song that I almost immediately deleted from the playlist.
    @DominoDancing (6): A cute idea, but this really should have been a quirky b-side. On this album, it's usually something I skip.
    @OspreyQueen (3): The sort of thin, underdeveloped scrap of a song they’d usually toss out as a B-side. How it made it to an album is beyond me.
    @nanafan (3): Their creativity was at a low point on this album and here’s an example
    @TrendyMüller (4.2): this is still a b-side and only serves as a gateway for the next song.
    @JakeMagnus (8.5): Love this, especially the story behind the song. It's very simple but very good.
    @Jóga (6.5): Quite repetitive and monotonous but rather interesting.
    @tylerc904 (6): This has the vibe and lyrics of a trademark PSB-Side.
    @Midnight City (4.5): Sounds slightly bitter…an unusual PSB trait and not an attractive one
    @etcetera (7): Nothing serious but quite charming.
    @Sally_Harper (10) “Heyyyyyyyy, what’s your naaaame anywaaaaaaay, what’s your naaaaame” gets stuck in my head all the time. Love the lyrics too!
    @Bleu Noir (6): High quality b-side material
    @Farnaby (4.5): A not very good b-side at best.
    Future Lover But come on, tell us how you really feel, is it B-side material? [​IMG]

    Karaoke version:

    The second departure for today is a dance track.
  7. I... don't really hate it. I think it's a rare song in anyone's canon, the admission of your own downfall, really. Even if it's masked as """ironic""" or whatever. I also love how the polarization of this rate is reflected even in our commentary, my dear Ray. Literally every song so far has had very high and very low scores.
  8. Ray


    I really like that. You can't say they're too old to cause controversy! Even 'Winner' and 'Hold on' got 9s from some people with very low standards.
  9. *narrows eyes*
  10. Something funny happened, when I clicked on the Instrumental version: I heard a beautiul, well produced instrumental track that doesn´t sound like a typical Chris Lowe track...and what´s even stranger: It doesn´t sound like Your Early Stuff at all!
    It must be pretty rare that Neils vocals actually make a song worse?!
    Seriously: The instrumental is a completely different (and better) song!
    Farnaby, blissteria and Ray like this.
  11. Top 5 from Elysium, according to PJ
    A face like that
    Memory of the future
    Requiem in leopard and denimskin

    The other albums remain pretty unbothered... especially Fundamental! Agenda is still there in its entirety as well.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
  12. Ray


    Why though?
  13. I like it a lot don't kill me
  14. I didn't think my 2 would be the lowest score for Your Early Stuff. The bitterness is off-putting, but so is Neil's odd accent affectation. The fact that it's 2:33 to me means they had one thin idea that just ran out...

    "OK, Andrew. Turn off the sound board, it's tea time!"

    Agreed! Thank you for speaking truth to power!
    blissteria likes this.
  15. Ray



    Dark and mysterious

    I just can´t take it seriously


    'The dead can dance'
    B-side to 'Say it to me'
    Average: 5,938
    Highest score: 1x10 (@slurmjunkie)
    Lowest score: 3x2 (@blissteria, @Salient Partner, @DominoDancing)

    Neil Another Soviet song, unfortunately. I read a book by Stephen F. Cohen called The Victims Return, about when people who'd been sent to the gulag under Stalin, then, under Krushchev, started returning during the "thaw” in the 1950s, and how people reacted to them, and how people who'd been sent to prison camp reacted to the people who'd sent them there in the first place. And how it's as though people have returned from the dead. And so this song goes: “The victims return/ more dead than alive/ but the dead can dance". Though the phrase "the dead can dance' doesn't come from that. Someone pointed out that there's a band called Dead Can Dance though I hadn't heard of them. I'm not sure why I thought of the phrase. The idea is that the dead are drawing attention to themselves, and people are too embarrassed to look at them. It's notable for the fact that it has one chord change all the way through. Chris thinks one bit sounds like Nirvana.
    Chris The music's quite rock. Quite rock-y.
    Neil I think it'll appear at some point. It's rather good. It might be a b-side because it's a slightly difficult song. But it'd be a very interesting b-side.

    Ray The problem I have with this song is that it's reeeeally good 15 seconds repeated for three minutes. I love the vocals, the piano, but... it just GOES ON AND ON. 'What's gonna happen when they knock on the door?' 'NOTHING, NEIL, NOTHING HAPPENS IN THIS SONG!' It's very Release like that, except on Release they tried to put various melodies to the same chords, and here they don't even bother. It sounds like it really wants to be 'Das Model', but, well, it isn't.

    @nostalgiakills (7): Endlessly repetitive, but in this case this is to the track’s strength. Fascinatingly so, in fact - its mantra-like feeling makes for an addictive listen. Another one unjustifiably left off the album.
    @WhipperSnapper (8) Dark and mysterious, it should have been on the album. Kings of relegating true gems to B-side oblivion.
    @VivaForever (4): I love Jessica Fletcher!
    @DominoDancing (2): Are they even trying anymore. This is just the same phrase and three note melody repeated for three minutes. Write a proper song!
    @nanafan (4): A typical PSB B Side I think, not bad but I can see why it didn’t make the album
    @TrendyMüller (3.5): With that title, I just can´t take it seriously. Do they really still enjoy doing this?
    @JakeMagnus (6.5): An okay song
    @Bleu Noir (7) Love the burbling synths, probably could've improved the album.

    Tomorrow we crack the Barrier Of Six!
  16. Screaming! At! That! Cover!
    I actually was with them on that same balcony on the Isle Of Dogs a few months after that picture was taken in 1986. They used to live in a shoddy hi-rise with that amazing view over London.
    It´s actually hard to believe that Neil has never heard of Dead Can Dance.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
  17. I can't imagine Neil was one for 4AD, perhaps with the exception of Cocteau Twins. But who knows? Can we expect a cover version of His Name Is Alive's "You And I Have Seizures"?
    WhipperSnapper, TrendyMüller and Ray like this.
  18. You´re probably right! Also, they were busy with re-recording and releasing West End Girls for the X(-mal Deutschland) time, they had probably no time for the underground!
    Ray and nostalgiakills like this.
  19. It's so great that one of the more recent albums was your entry point albumwise and you didn't let 'Hold on' and 'Winner' deter you from discovering the joys of Pet Shop Boys. Though it's also interesting that the song that started it off was still 'West End girls', which was my introduction as well (way back when it was number one).

    What with this and your hint about the lonely hearts advert, I thought that 'Did you see me coming?'s time was up (since the 'possibly more' remix had lots of extra spoken-word lines from such adverts). But 'Love life' deserves to leave sooner.

    I have to agree here and also gave it a 5. I like the verses, but the repetitive vocal melody of the chorus is a letdown. It's too plodding. The vacuous lyrics are nothing to write home about either (see also 'Baby', so it seems to be a prerequisite for songs given to Alcazar). Having said that, my favourite part is the string bit running through the chorus.

    Thanks for the history lesson. I didn't know about that sample.

    Sadly, your scores for 'Blue on blue' seem to be at least one point lower than what your comments suggest. Or is it that a 7 is generally as good as it gets for you with a B-side?

    Another great cover.
    I think the lyrics are surprisingly honest. As they just quote what's been said by others, they don't include any annoyed reaction from themselves as in 'Yesterday, when I was mad'. However, as others have said, I find the music a bit too repetitive.
    I'm afraid that's the one overly repetitive part that really grates on me, which is why I gave it a 7.
    I love that bit.
    Yes. Although I usually replace everything below 8 with a superior B-side or bonus track from the same era for my improved album tracklisting, this works so well with the 'Love comes quickly' references of the next track.

    I think I've never been so disappointed by one of your red herrings. I guess I hoped that 'Inner sanctum' would bugger off instead of another superior B-side from the same era.
    I have to disagree. Granted, the main melody stays the same, but otherwise it's very fluid with lots of new elements added throughout the whole song. I just love how everything builds with extra layers and flourishes such as Neil's brilliant backing vocal coming in at 1:20. The only time that nothing new happens is during the instrumental bit, but even that offers something new in that the music can be briefly heard on its own. Thankfully, some others showed some appreciation as well (though you could have scored it a little higher, sometimes I think that B-sides are generally scored a bit lower because they have been officially reduced to B-side status):
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
    WhipperSnapper and OspreyQueen like this.
  20. Ray


    I love trolling like this. Although I made 'Your early stuff' a bit too easy to guess.

    This one worked well, then! (I wish 'Inner sanctum' would bugger off too, though.)

    My Super tracklisting features 'The white dress' and 'Wiedersehen'. They are so superior to half of the album that it's not even funny.

    No red herrings here – I can't wait to remove #64 and #63 (total of 4 points from me), but almost everybody here is totally wrong about #62, which should have been top 20 at least. The scores remain all over the place. And I still can't believe that there is a song in the top 10 that got both a zero and an 11.
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