PSB3: Pet Shop Boys rate, 2006-2019. #27 Attractively banal | Page 49 | The Popjustice Forum

PSB3: Pet Shop Boys rate, 2006-2019. #27 Attractively banal

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 say NO to your NO!!!

  2. Ray


    We could, if you send me hmhm and mhmmhm wink_emoji.gif

    (and then the rate could take a technical break on Thursday (feat. Example) because we're viewing three houses in one day and I expect to die afterwards)
    WhipperSnapper and Future Lover like this.
  3. Well, that's some excellent synchronicity then! Both mhmhmhmhm's will be at your desk tomorrow, dear sir!
    WhipperSnapper and Ray like this.
  4. I actually was very surprised as it's so removed from the stuff he later did with them. In contrast to a lot of Subpar tracks, this statement shows he can have good taste.

    I'm shocked to see 'Building a wall' out this early, especially while the Very-by-numbers 'Did you see me coming?' is still in. I will concede that the "protection, prevention, detection, detention" bit sounds clumsy. However, everything else (including all the other spoken word bits) about this is so inventive. The lyrics and melodies of the verses, chorus and middle eight are great, and it's made up of so many varied parts that it could be called prog pop. It's probably my favourite from Yes and definitely its most underrated track. Thankfully, some of you got it right:
  5. Minor annoyance alert: y'all noticed that the remastered version of "Building a wall" is slightly different from the original? One of those maddening things! I'll note in advance that the same is true for "Love etc.", since that's not gonna happen for a couple of days... or weeks? or months? We just don't know.
    Anyway, this all got me listening to "Yes"... and I enjoy it more than I remember. Slay me 10 years later, kings.
    WhipperSnapper likes this.
  6. I hadn't. In what way?
  7. At around 11-12 seconds in, you can hear a piano note "doubled" or split into two, where there used to be one. I believe there might be some more differences, that one might count as a glitch, although it doesn't sound "off".
    As for "Love etc.", the most notable difference is before "...than the Gerhard Richter" line, the beat doesn't drop for a couple of measures, as it used to do, so technically, now the "Single Mix" and the "Album Version" are different.
    slurmjunkie, WhipperSnapper and Ray like this.
  8. How can one be so wrong?!??
    That line is absolutely brilliant! Where Neil is writing himself out of one corner into the next one ("christmas=money=bad=boo!"), The Et´s are positive about everything christmas! No rationalising, just realizing that you totally succumb to the christmas-event (that masquerades as "christmas spirit") because you´re basically born on that damn day.
    Also it´s "I´m so GLAD that I jost got my pay..."
    blissteria and Ray like this.
  9. I'm not surprised I got it wrong, I haven't listened to it since it was in the charts. Truly dreadful. Sorry!
  10. Yes x2
  11. Ray



    I love the way it slowly builds.

    Long and, well, boring.


    'Breathing space'
    Album track from Elysium
    Average: 5,867
    Highest score: 2x10 (@slurmjunkie, @Sally_Harper)
    Lowest score: 2x0 (@Farnaby, @One Stop Candy Shop)

    Neil It was written in Berlin in 2009. I bought a guitar from the guitar shop around the corner, and I wrote it on this acoustic guitar. The first demo was me playing it live into my telephone. I thought it was too wet, but then Chris thought it sounded a bit like Chicago's 'If You Leave Me Now'.
    Chris What a good record.
    Neil So we did the demo-again in Berlin, in April 2011 – like that.
    Chris I put some soft Seventies horn sounds and Seventies drums on.
    Neil Very Smooth FM. Chris's arrangement took away the singer-songwritery thing that it had. He also wrote the middle bit. Making the proper demo, we'd already started to think about going to Los Angeles and we definitely thought it fitted the LA thing.
    Chris Andrew did a lot of work on this.
    Neil This is probably the single track on the album that was most transformed by Andrew from the demo. He brought in a guitarist, Adam Tressler, and he brought in this young film composer called Joachim Horsley who did a great job on the strings. And this is the first time you get Sonos on the album. They sing a very beautiful part in the middle section. A sort of ad lib, but it's very worked out so it's not an ad lib. It's very LA.
    Chris It's another Kermit song,
    Neil A total Kermit song. Our Kermit songs, I used to always imagine them being the sad moment in a Muppet movie, and Kermit's sitting there with a guitar, and he looks up and sings 'When your heart is...'. It's about having somewhere to escape to. Even though it was written in Berlin, it's actually about my house in the north of England. Saying that sometimes I need to get away, and that's a place I can get away to. The words are very literal.
    Chris So the lyrics are a bit more personal, aren't they? People like that.
    Neil The sequencing is funny here, because it goes from 'Breathing space', which is me singing about me, to 'Ego music'!
    Chris The irony...

    Ray Honestly? This interview makes things worse. 'Smooth FM' and 'Kermit sitting with a guitar' are not things I want from Pet Shop Boys songs. I have never in my entire life found myself saying 'I wish PSB recorded more MOR songs which would fit a Muppets musical'. There are pretty things about it – the chorus melody, some of the arpeggios, the vocal production is lovely, but it's a definition of filler (sorry, @Filler). It's...there. I gave it 5,5 and I feel I overscored it. Elysium is such a weird record – the (few) heights are among their absolute best, the lows are their worst, then there's a lot of the songs that just...exist.

    @nostalgiakills (7); Love the verses; don’t love the choruses quite as much. But I still think it’s strong.
    @WhipperSnapper (9): I love the way it slowly builds. It feels like “mature pop” done right. I always want to hear Neil’s nuggets of wisdom.
    @VivaForever (8): Beautiful chorus melody and great lyrics, but let down by the melody in the verses. It’s a bit ‘90s female singer-songwriter (Donna Lewis/Sophie B. Hawkins types), isn’t it?
    @DominoDancing (5): Long and, well, boring. Lyrics are well-intentioned but read like a Headspace script. [SCREAM - Future Lover]
    @OspreyQueen (5): The song equivalent of a live-love-laugh poster. [So true... – Ray] Though I’ll admit do like the chorus and middle 8 melodies.
    @nanafan (5): A retread of Winner but a bit more to it I think
    @TrendyMüller (3): MOR snooze fest
    @JakeMagnus (9): This ends up as my highest-rated song on the album and I imagine it might end up a controversial choice. But I unashamedly love this. Totally random, but this got some exposure on a chill out playlist for gym classes (one of those worldwide ones).
    @Jóga (8): Great classic PSB melody. Lovely.
    @westendgirl (9.5): beautifully melancholic, but I’m not so keen on the “far far away”-bit
    @Midnight City (4.5) This needed to be 5 minutes?
    @etcetera (6): Not bad, but a little bit boring.
    @Sally_Harper (10) This is just a stunning song. Definitely one of their best ballads.
    @Bleu Noir (8): Gets better as I get older unfortunately
    @Farnaby (0): I hate everything about this song. Even the vulgarity of the Winner chorus is better than this MOR nightmare.

  12. Ray



    Just plods along.

    all kinds of amazing


    'Everything means something'
    Elysium album track
    Average: 5,8694
    Highest score: 2x10 (@funkyg, @slurmjunkie)
    Lowest score: 2x0 (@Sweet Music, @Farnaby)

    Neil When we wrote this, I didn't even think it would be on the album because the melody is so dour. In fact this is one of the other songs, along with 'Breathing space', that Andrew took as his own project and ran with it, and he really turned it into this Depeche Mode-esque, even faintly Nine Inch Nails-y kind of Nineties synth thing.
    Ray ...I don't hear that.
    Neil It has this classic Andrew Dawson lift into the chorus and he makes the chorus sound positively psychedelic, I think. And at that point it went on the album.
    Chris It sounds quite mournful to me. A bit folky as well. I can imagine Kate McGarrigle singing it. It's a weird time signature-I think the computer was playing up. Something funny happened with the quantize. That's why it has an unusual rhythm.
    Neil This is a very morose song, but the chorus is great. I had a sort of melody and Chris said 'no, no, no, no' and then he wrote the melody to the lyrics over the backing track.
    Chris So that's another way of working.
    Neil 'Everything means something' is a title I've had lurking around for a while because I believe everything does mean something. By which I mean that some apparently small insignificant thing can actually be very revealing. In fact at Smash Hits it was the very basis of the Personal File: 'Does your mother play golf?' – an apparently insignificant question which is extremely revealing about your background and all the rest of it. And this song is a report of an argument between two people which pretty much did happen. One person is saying 'if you think this is important, your sense of proportion is gone and the other person is saying, 'everything means something'. How you can say about something 'Oh, it's just a throwaway remark', but actually it's got a very hard kernel of meaning right in the centre of it that you can't ignore.
    Chris Yes. 'Only joking...'
    Neil This also fits into the same product range as 'Twentieth century': 'Sometimes the solution is worse than the problem.'

    Ray I like the chorus melody. The problem is that it takes 25 minutes to actually arrive there. So for once it looks like Chris's contribution is the best (in my opinion) part of the song. It's not exactly 'Closer' or 'Enjoy The Silence', Neil. If anything, it would fit on Exciter, which – if you've taken part in my Depeche Mode rate – I renamed Boringer, which is not a compliment. Again, Elysium is so uneven and...padded. 'I said, really?' is what I always think when I am reminded that Neil wrote a song called 'Everything means something'. The production doesn't work for me, the verses don't work for me, it does sound like a malfunctioning computer. Sorry.

    @nostalgiakills (8): Another successful attempt to explore some new musical territory. Quite unlike anything else they’d done (again), it’s a tonic that after 25 years they were still trying to find new places to go.
    @WhipperSnapper (9): The lost Depeche Mode sessions? The first minute is all kinds of amazing. When Neil takes you to task you will cower!
    @DominoDancing (8.5): Rhythmically, the verses are quite adventurous for them. The whole song sounds quite ominous, I really quite enjoy this!
    @OspreyQueen (7.5): This might be one of their most flat out eerie songs? If you ignore the lyrics besides the chorus, it’s genuinely quite disturbing (in a good way!), and it certainly put 13-year-old me on edge on my first listen. [ old ARE you and what is your Pet Shop Boys history?! Did Elysium of all albums make you a fan?! – Ray]
    @nanafan (2): Quite forgettable
    @TrendyMüller (0.5): Oh god there is so much meandering sludge on this album. Verses are fine but the chorus is shit.
    @JakeMagnus (5): Something is missing from this song. It sounds like it could have been great.
    @Jóga (8): It sounds like someone losing it, which I guess was the point so kudos to them.
    @etcetera (4): Just plods along.
    @Sally_Harper (2) I can’t find much to like here, apart from the “Everything means something, and something has occurred” line which I think is great. I hate the production on the verses, and I find “I SAID. REALLY?” irrationally irritating.
    @Bleu Noir (7) Again another Elysium track that gets better with (my) age!
    @Farnaby (0): Never could go through the whole song. Is it the most boring PSB song ever ?

    Tomorrow the rate takes a technical break, after which we will be kicking out another song I expected to hang around for much longer.
  13. All of the recent reveals should have been out awhile ago, but at least we're back on track.
  14. Ray


    Good news (for me): 'Groovy' is still in!
    Bad news (for me): 'Numb' is still in...
    Bleu Noir and slurmjunkie like this.
  15. Finally the dreck of Elysisnore gets the axe. Both of these and MOR Of No Future should have left us weeks ago!
    Once more: @Ray ´s artwork for both songs is STELLAR!!!
    blissteria and Ray like this.
  16. Aww not Breathing Space! But I‘m happy it hung around as long as it did. People didn‘t hate it quite as much as it seemed.
    WhipperSnapper likes this.
  17. Ray


    I've had the artwork for 'Breathing space' ready in my head for weeks, I'm very happy with that one! 'Everything means something' was a bit of desperation, to be honest.
  18. I think I need a break from this rate, too, after having lost four 10s in a row with the latest double whammy. It's the return of the bloody bangers brigade! After the previous rates, I already expected that 'Breathing space' and 'Everything means something' wouldn't get the overall respect they deserve in this rate. The first one could have been on Release and the other one is similar to Battleship Potemkin, two of their least loved albums. If you really want to get rid of unnecessary MOR sludge, then why the hell is 'Numb' still in? It's a sin.

    Nevertheless, kudos to the following members for displaying some taste:
    The last two comments offer some constructive criticism that I can understand: I also find the middle eight and the verse melody to be inferior to the chorus melody. The melody of the pre-chorus is beautiful, too. The biggest draw of this song for me is that Neil conveys such a sense of longing when singing these melodies. Beautifully melancholic indeed.

    It's reassuring to read that some of you also appreciate the experimental nature of this track.
  19. Sadly, this is about the only opinion we share of late.
    Ray likes this.
  20. Ray


    I ask myself the same question. I thought everybody shared my opinion (which is 2/10).
    westendgirl likes this.
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